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Dev Biol. 2011 Jun 1;354(1):160-72. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.03.014. Epub 2011 Mar 17.

Actinotrichia collagens and their role in fin formation.

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Department of Cell Biology, Genetics and Physiology, Faculty of Science, University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain.


The skeleton of zebrafish fins consists of lepidotrichia and actinotrichia. Actinotrichia are fibrils located at the tip of each lepidotrichia and play a morphogenetic role in fin formation. Actinotrichia are formed by collagens associated with non-collagen components. The non-collagen components of actinotrichia (actinodins) have been shown to play a critical role in fin to limb transition. The present study has focused on the collagens that form actinotrichia and their role in fin formation. We have found actinotrichia are formed by Collagen I plus a novel form of Collagen II, encoded by the col2a1b gene. This second copy of the collagen II gene is only found in fishes and is the only Collagen type II expressed in fins. Both col1a1a and col2a1b were found in actinotrichia forming cells. Significantly, they also expressed the lysyl hydroxylase 1 (lh1) gene, which encodes an enzyme involved in the post-translational processing of collagens. Morpholino knockdown in zebrafish embryos demonstrated that the two collagens and lh1 are essential for actinotrichia and fin fold morphogenesis. The col1a1 dominant mutant chihuahua showed aberrant phenotypes in both actinotrichia and lepidotrichia during fin development and regeneration. These pieces of evidences support that actinotrichia are composed of Collagens I and II, which are post-translationally processed by Lh1, and that the correct expression and assembling of these collagens is essential for fin formation. The unique collagen composition of actinotrichia may play a role in fin skeleton morphogenesis.

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