M C Fishman

Universität Ulm, Ulm, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany

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Publications (159)1773.14 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Assembly, maintenance and renewal of sarcomeres require highly organized and balanced folding, transport, modification and degradation of sarcomeric proteins. However, the molecules that mediate these processes are largely unknown. Here, we isolated the zebrafish mutant flatline (fla), which shows disturbed sarcomere assembly exclusively in heart and fast-twitch skeletal muscle. By positional cloning we identified a nonsense mutation within the SET- and MYND-domain-containing protein 1 gene (smyd1) to be responsible for the fla phenotype. We found SMYD1 expression to be restricted to the heart and fast-twitch skeletal muscle cells. Within these cell types, SMYD1 localizes to both the sarcomeric M-line, where it physically associates with myosin, and the nucleus, where it supposedly represses transcription through its SET and MYND domains. However, although we found transcript levels of thick filament chaperones, such as Hsp90a1 and UNC-45b, to be severely upregulated in fla, its histone methyltransferase activity - mainly responsible for the nuclear function of SMYD1 - is dispensable for sarcomerogenesis. Accordingly, sarcomere assembly in fla mutant embryos can be reconstituted by ectopically expressing histone methyltransferase-deficient SMYD1. By contrast, ectopic expression of myosin-binding-deficient SMYD1 does not rescue fla mutants, implicating an essential role for the SMYD1-myosin interaction in cardiac and fast-twitch skeletal muscle thick filament assembly.
    Journal of Cell Science 08/2011; 124(Pt 18):3127-36. · 5.33 Impact Factor
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    Randall T Peterson, Mark C Fishman
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    ABSTRACT: The zebrafish is proving to be highly amenable to in vivo small molecule screening. With a growing number of screens successfully completed, a rich interface is being created between disciplines that have historically used zebrafish (e.g., embryology and genetics) and disciplines focused on small molecules (e.g., chemistry and pharmacology). Navigating this interface requires consideration of the unique demands of conducting high-throughput screening in vivo. In this chapter, we discuss design elements of successful zebrafish screens, established screening methods, and approaches for mechanism of action studies following discovery of novel small molecules. These methods are enabling the zebrafish to have an increasingly positive impact on biomedical research and drug development.
    Methods in cell biology 01/2011; 105:525-41. · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The zebrafish mutant silent partner is characterized by a dysmorphic, non-contractile ventricle resulting in an inability to generate normal blood flow. We have identified the genetic lesion in the zebrafish homolog of the slow twitch skeletal/cardiac troponin C gene. Although human troponin C1 (TNNC1) is expressed in both cardiac and skeletal muscle, duplication of this gene in zebrafish has resulted in tissue-specific partitioning of troponin C expression and function. Mutation of the zebrafish paralog tnnc1a, which is expressed predominantly in the heart, results in a loss of contractility and myofibrillar organization within ventricular cardiomyocytes, while skeletal muscle remains functional and intact. We further show that defective contractility in the developing heart results in abnormal atrial and ventricular chamber morphology. Together, our results suggest that tnnc1a is required both for the function and structural integrity of the contractile machinery in cardiomyocytes, helping to clarify potential mechanisms of troponin C-mediated cardiomyopathy.
    Developmental Dynamics 10/2010; 239(11):3115-23. · 2.67 Impact Factor
  • Developmental Biology 07/2009; 331(2):426-426. · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cilia defects have been implicated in a variety of human diseases and genetic disorders, but how cilia motility contributes to these phenotypes is still unknown. To further our understanding of how cilia function in development, we have cloned and characterized two alleles of seahorse, a zebrafish mutation that results in pronephric cysts. seahorse encodes Lrrc6l, a leucine-rich repeat-containing protein that is highly conserved in organisms that have motile cilia. seahorse is expressed in zebrafish tissues known to contain motile cilia. Although mutants do not affect cilia structure and retain the ability to interact with Disheveled, both alleles of seahorse strongly affect cilia motility in the zebrafish pronephros and neural tube. Intriguingly, although seahorse mutations variably affect fluid flow in Kupffer's vesicle, they can have very weak effects on left-right patterning. Combined with recently published results, our alleles suggest that the function of seahorse in cilia motility is separable from its function in other cilia-related phenotypes.
    Development 06/2009; 136(10):1621-31. · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although it is well known that mutations in the cardiac essential myosin light chain-1 (cmlc-1) gene can cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the precise in vivo structural and functional roles of cMLC-1 in the heart are only poorly understood. We have isolated the zebrafish mutant lazy susan (laz), which displays severely reduced contractility of both heart chambers. By positional cloning, we identified a nonsense mutation within the zebrafish cmlc-1 gene to be responsible for the laz phenotype, leading to expression of a carboxyl-terminally truncated cMLC-1. Whereas complete loss of cMLC-1 leads to cardiac acontractility attributable to impaired cardiac sarcomerogenesis, expression of a carboxyl-terminally truncated cMLC-1 in laz mutant hearts is sufficient for normal cardiac sarcomerogenesis but severely impairs cardiac contractility in a cell-autonomous fashion. Whereas overexpression of wild-type cMLC-1 restores contractility of laz mutant cardiomyocytes, overexpression of phosphorylation site serine 195-deficient cMLC-1 (cMLC-1(S195A)) does not reconstitute cardiac contractility in laz mutant cardiomyocytes. By contrast, introduction of a phosphomimetic amino acid on position 195 (cMLC-1(S195D)) rescues cardiomyocyte contractility, demonstrating for the first time an essential role of the carboxyl terminus and especially of serine 195 of cMLC-1 in the regulation of cardiac contractility.
    Circulation Research 02/2009; 104(5):650-9. · 11.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic predisposition is believed to be responsible for most clinically significant arrhythmias; however, suitable genetic animal models to study disease mechanisms and evaluate new treatment strategies are largely lacking. In search of suitable arrhythmia models, we isolated the zebrafish mutation reggae (reg), which displays clinical features of the malignant human short-QT syndrome such as accelerated cardiac repolarization accompanied by cardiac fibrillation. By positional cloning, we identified the reg mutation that resides within the voltage sensor of the zebrafish ether-à-go-go-related gene (zERG) potassium channel. The mutation causes premature zERG channel activation and defective inactivation, which results in shortened action potential duration and accelerated cardiac repolarization. Genetic and pharmacological inhibition of zERG rescues recessive reg mutant embryos, which confirms the gain-of-function effect of the reg mutation on zERG channel function in vivo. Accordingly, QT intervals in ECGs from heterozygous and homozygous reg mutant adult zebrafish are considerably shorter than in wild-type zebrafish. With its molecular and pathophysiological concordance to the human arrhythmia syndrome, zebrafish reg represents the first animal model for human short-QT syndrome.
    Circulation 03/2008; 117(7):866-75. · 14.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The vertebrate heart possesses autoregulatory mechanisms enabling it first to sense and then to adapt its force of contraction to continually changing demands. The molecular components of the cardiac mechanical stretch sensor are mostly unknown but of immense medical importance, since dysfunction of this sensing machinery is suspected to be responsible for a significant proportion of human heart failure. In the hearts of the ethylnitros-urea (ENU)-induced, recessive embryonic lethal zebrafish heart failure mutant main squeeze (msq), we find stretch-responsive genes such as atrial natriuretic factor (anf) and vascular endothelial growth factor (vegf) severely down-regulated. We demonstrate through positional cloning that heart failure in msq mutants is due to a mutation in the integrin-linked kinase (ilk) gene. ILK specifically localizes to costameres and sarcomeric Z-discs. The msq mutation (L308P) reduces ILK kinase activity and disrupts binding of ILK to the Z-disc adaptor protein beta-parvin (Affixin). Accordingly, in msq mutant embryos, heart failure can be suppressed by expression of ILK, and also of a constitutively active form of Protein Kinase B (PKB), and VEGF. Furthermore, antisense-mediated abrogation of zebrafish beta-parvin phenocopies the msq phenotype. Thus, we provide evidence that the heart uses the Integrin-ILK-beta-parvin network to sense mechanical stretch and respond with increased expression of ANF and VEGF, the latter of which was recently shown to augment cardiac force by increasing the heart's calcium transients.
    Genes & Development 10/2006; 20(17):2361-72. · 12.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although it is well known that mutations in the cardiac regulatory myosin light chain-2 (mlc-2) gene cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the precise in vivo structural and functional roles of MLC-2 in the heart are only poorly understood. We have isolated a mutation in zebrafish, tell tale heart (tel(m225)), which selectively perturbs contractility of the embryonic heart. By positional cloning, we identified tel to encode the zebrafish mlc-2 gene. In contrast to mammals, zebrafish have only 1 cardiac-specific mlc-2 gene, which we find to be expressed in atrial and ventricular cardiomyocytes during early embryonic development, but also in the adult heart. Accordingly, loss of zMLC-2 function cannot be compensated for by upregulation of another mlc-2 gene. Surprisingly, ultrastructural analysis of tel cardiomyocytes reveals complete absence of organized thick myofilaments. Thus, our findings provide the first in vivo evidence that cardiac MLC-2 is required for thick-filament stabilization and contractility in the vertebrate heart.
    Circulation Research 09/2006; 99(3):323-31. · 11.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During embryogenesis, the myocardial layer of the primitive heart tube grows outward from the endocardial-lined lumen, with new cells added to generate concentric thickness to the wall. This is a key evolutionary step, demarcating vertebrates from more primitive chordates, and is essential for normal cardiac function. Zebrafish embryos with the recessive lethal mutations santa (san) and valentine (vtn) do not thicken, but do add the proper number of cells to the myocardium. Consequently, the heart chambers are huge, constituted of a monolayered myocardium lined by endocardium. This phenotype is similar to that of the heart of glass (heg) mutation, which we described previously as a novel endocardial expressed gene. By positional cloning, we here identify san as the zebrafish homolog of human CCM1, and vtn as the homolog of human CCM2. Dominant mutations of either in humans cause vascular anomalies in the brain, known as cerebral cavernous malformations. The synergistic effects of morpholino pairs indicate that san, vtn and heg are in a genetic pathway, and san and vtn contain protein motifs, NPxY and PTB domain, respectively, known to interact. This suggests that concentric growth of the myocardium, crucial for blood pressure generation, is dictated by a heg-san-vtn signaling pathway.
    Development 09/2006; 133(16):3139-46. · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GAP-43 is a gene expressed only in the nervous system. The protein product is believed to be important to neuronal growth and plasticity. Most, and likely all, neurons express high levels of GAP-43 during periods of neurite elongation. To initiate studies of GAP-43 gene regulation we have cloned the rat gene encoding GAP-43. The GAP-43 gene includes three exons. The first exon encodes only the amino terminal 10 amino acids, which corresponds to the membrane targeting domain of GAP-43. The second exon encodes a putative calmodulin binding domain and a protein kinase C phosphorylation site. The 5′-flanking sequence is unusual in that it lacks CAAT or TATA elements, and directs RNA transcription initiation from several sites. Some of the transcription start sites are used to a different degree in the central and peripheral nervous systems.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 04/2006; 2(10):822 - 827. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    Fabrizio C Serluca, Mark C Fishman
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2006; 103(11):3947-8. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Calcium entry into myocytes drives contraction of the embryonic heart. To prepare for the next contraction, myocytes must extrude calcium from intracellular space via the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX1) or sequester it into the sarcoplasmic reticulum, via the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase2 (SERCA2). In mammals, defective calcium extrusion correlates with increased intracellular calcium levels and may be relevant to heart failure and sarcoplasmic dysfunction in adults. We report here that mutation of the cardiac-specific NCX1 (NCX1h) gene causes embryonic lethal cardiac arrhythmia in zebrafish tremblor (tre) embryos. The tre ventricle is nearly silent, whereas the atrium manifests a variety of arrhythmias including fibrillation. Calcium extrusion defects in tre mutants correlate with severe disruptions in sarcomere assembly, whereas mutations in the L-type calcium channel that abort calcium entry do not produce this phenotype. Knockdown of SERCA2 activity by morpholino-mediated translational inhibition or pharmacological inhibition causes embryonic lethality due to defects in cardiac contractility and morphology but, in contrast to tre mutation, does not produce arrhythmia. Analysis of intracellular calcium levels indicates that homozygous tre embryos develop calcium overload, which may contribute to the degeneration of cardiac function in this mutant. Thus, the inhibition of NCX1h versus SERCA2 activity differentially affects the pathophysiology of rhythm in the developing heart and suggests that relative levels of NCX1 and SERCA2 function are essential for normal development.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2006; 102(49):17705-10. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To increase the facility and throughput of scoring phenotypic traits in embryonic zebrafish, we developed an automated micro-well assay for heart rate using automated fluorescence microscopy of transgenic embryos expressing green fluorescent protein in myocardium. The assay measures heart rates efficiently and accurately over a large linear dynamic range, and it rapidly characterizes dose dependence and kinetics of small molecule-induced changes in heart rate. This is the first high-throughput micro-well assay for organ function in an intact vertebrate.
    Nature Chemical Biology 11/2005; 1(5):263-4. · 13.22 Impact Factor
  • Mark C Fishman, Jeffery A Porter
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    ABSTRACT: To realize the potential of the genome for identifying candidate drugs we must move beyond individual genes and proteins. The signalling pathways in cells provide the right level for such analyses.
    Nature 10/2005; 437(7058):491-3. · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The strength of the heart beat can accommodate in seconds to changes in blood pressure or flow. The mechanism for such homeostatic adaptation is unknown. We sought the cause of poor contractility in the heart of the embryonic zebrafish with the mutation dead beat. We find through cloning that this is due to a mutation in the phospholipase C gamma1 (plcgamma1) gene. In mutant embryos, contractile function can be restored by PLCgamma1 expression directed selectively to cardiac myocytes. In other situations, PLCgamma1 is known to transduce the signal from vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and we show here that abrogation of VEGF also interferes with cardiac contractility. Somewhat unexpectedly, FLT-1 is the responsible VEGF receptor. We show that the same system functions in the rat. Blockage of VEGF-PLCgamma1 signaling decreases calcium transients in rat ventricular cardiomyocytes, whereas VEGF imposes a positive inotropic effect on cardiomyocytes by increasing calcium transients. Thus, the muscle of the heart uses the VEGF-PLCgamma1 cascade to control the strength of the heart beat. We speculate that this paracrine system may contribute to normal and pathological regulation of cardiac contractility.
    Genes & Development 08/2005; 19(13):1624-34. · 12.64 Impact Factor
  • Mark C. Fishman
    Drug Discovery Today 06/2005; 10(9):609-11. · 5.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Major vessels of the vertebrate circulatory system display evolutionarily conserved and reproducible anatomy, but the cues guiding this stereotypic patterning remain obscure. In the nervous system, axonal pathways are shaped by repulsive cues provided by ligands of the semaphorin family that are sensed by migrating neuronal growth cones through plexin receptors. We show that proper blood vessel pathfinding requires the endothelial receptor PlexinD1 and semaphorin signals, and we identify mutations in plexinD1 in the zebrafish vascular patterning mutant out of bounds. These results reveal the fundamental conservation of repulsive patterning mechanisms between axonal migration in the central nervous system and vascular endothelium during angiogenesis.
    Developmental Cell 08/2004; 7(1):117-23. · 10.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Conventional drug discovery approaches require a priori selection of an appropriate molecular target, but it is often not obvious which biological pathways must be targeted to reverse a disease phenotype. Phenotype-based screens offer the potential to identify pathways and potential therapies that influence disease processes. The zebrafish mutation gridlock (grl, affecting the gene hey2) disrupts aortic blood flow in a region and physiological manner akin to aortic coarctation in humans. Here we use a whole-organism, phenotype-based, small-molecule screen to discover a class of compounds that suppress the coarctation phenotype and permit survival to adulthood. These compounds function during the specification and migration of angioblasts. They act to upregulate expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and the activation of the VEGF pathway is sufficient to suppress the gridlock phenotype. Thus, organism-based screens allow the discovery of small molecules that ameliorate complex dysmorphic syndromes even without targeting the affected gene directly.
    Nature Biotechnology 06/2004; 22(5):595-9. · 39.08 Impact Factor
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    Randall T Peterson, Mark C Fishman
    Methods in cell biology 02/2004; 76:569-91. · 1.44 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

17k Citations
1,773.14 Total Impact Points


  • 2011
    • Universität Ulm
      • Department of Internal Medicine
      Ulm, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
  • 1989–2011
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • • Cardiovascular Research Center
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Craniofacial Developmental Biology Laboratory
      • • Department of Neurology
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2004–2010
    • Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2005–2009
    • Universität Heidelberg
      • University Hospital of Internal Medicine
      Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
  • 1988–2006
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2000
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
      Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 1996–1997
    • Cardiovascular Research Foundation
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1995
    • Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
      • Institute for Medical Microbiology
      Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
    • Yale-New Haven Hospital
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States
  • 1988–1994
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States