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J Cell Sci. 2008 Oct 1;121(Pt 19):3196-206. doi: 10.1242/jcs.032235. Epub 2008 Sep 9.

Analysis of WASp function during the wound inflammatory response--live-imaging studies in zebrafish larvae.

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  • 1Departments of Biochemistry and Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.


Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASp) is haematopoietically restricted, and is the causative protein underlying a severe human disorder that can lead to death due to immunodeficiency and haemorrhaging. Much is known about the biochemistry of WASp and the migratory capacity of WASp-defective cells in vitro, but in vivo studies of immune-cell behaviour are more challenging. Using the translucency of zebrafish larvae, we live-imaged the effects of morpholino knockdown of WASp1 (also known as Was) on leukocyte migration in response to a wound. In embryos at 22 hours post-fertilisation, primitive macrophages were impaired in their migration towards laser wounds. Once a circulatory system had developed, at 3 days post-fertilisation, we observed significantly reduced recruitment of neutrophils and macrophages to ventral fin wounds. Cell-tracking studies indicated that fewer leukocytes leave the vessels adjacent to a wound and those that do exhibit impaired navigational capacity. Their cell morphology appears unaltered but their choice of leading-edge pseudopodia is more frequently incorrect, leading to impaired chemotaxis. We also identified two zebrafish mutants in WASp1 by TILLING, one of which was in the WIP-binding domain that is the hotspot for human lesions, and mutants exhibited the same deficiencies in wound inflammation and thrombus formation as WASp1 morphants.

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