Cytoskeletal and cellular adhesion proteins in zebrafish (Danio rerio) myogenesis


Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research




The current myogenesis and myofibrillogenesis model has been based mostly on in vitro cell culture studies, and, to a lesser extent, on in situ studies in avian and mammalian embryos. While the more isolated artificial conditions of cells in culture permitted careful structural analysis, the actual in situ cellular structures have not been described in detail because the embryos are more difficult to section and manipulate. To overcome these difficulties, we used the optically clear and easy to handle embryos of the zebrafish Danio rerio. We monitored the expression of cytoskeletal and cell-adhesion proteins (actin, myosin, desmin, alpha-actinin, troponin, titin, vimentin and vinculin) using immunofluorescence microscopy and video-enhanced, background-subtracted, differential interference contrast of 24- to 48-h zebrafish embryos. In the mature myotome, the mononucleated myoblasts displayed periodic striations for all sarcomeric proteins tested. The changes in desmin distribution from aggregates to perinuclear and striated forms, although following the same sequence, occurred much faster than in other models. All desmin-positive cells were also positive for myofibrillar proteins and striated, in contrast to that which occurs in cell cultures. Vimentin appeared to be striated in mature cells, while it is developmentally down-regulated in vitro. The whole connective tissue septum between the somites was positive for adhesion proteins such as vinculin, instead of the isolated adhesion plaques observed in cell cultures. The differences in the myogenesis of zebrafish in situ and in cell culture in vitro suggest that some of the previously observed structures and protein distributions in cultures could be methodological artifacts.

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