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Zona Pellucida Domain-Containing Protein ß-Tectorin is Crucial for Zebrafish Proper Inner Ear Development
Published: Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Author: Chung-Hsiang Yang et al.

by Chung-Hsiang Yang, Chia-Hsiung Cheng, Gen-Der Chen, Wei-Hao Liao, Yi-Chung Chen, Kai-Yun Huang, Pung-Pung Hwang, Sheng-Ping L. Hwang, Chang-Jen Huang


The zona pellucida (ZP) domain is part of many extracellular proteins with diverse functions from structural components to receptors. The mammalian ß-tectorin is a protein of 336 amino acid residues containing a single ZP domain and a putative signal peptide at the N-terminus of the protein. It is 1 component of a gel-like structure called the tectorial membrane which is involved in transforming sound waves into neuronal signals and is important for normal auditory function. ß-Tectorin is specifically expressed in the mammalian and avian inner ear.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We identified and cloned the gene encoding zebrafish ß-tectorin. Through whole-mount in situ hybridization, we demonstrated that ß-tectorin messenger RNA was expressed in the otic placode and specialized sensory patch of the inner ear during zebrafish embryonic stages. Morpholino knockdown of zebrafish ß-tectorin affected the position and number of otoliths in the ears of morphants. Finally, swimming behaviors of ß-tectorin morphants were abnormal since the development of the inner ear was compromised.


Our results reveal that zebrafish ß-tectorin is specifically expressed in the zebrafish inner ear, and is important for regulating the development of the zebrafish inner ear. Lack of zebrafish ß-tectorin caused severe defects in inner ear formation of otoliths and function.