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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 28;8(6):e68021. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068021. Print 2013.

Notch signalling is required for the formation of structurally stable muscle fibres in zebrafish.

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Instituto de Medicina Molecular e Instituto de Histologia e Biologia do Desenvolvimento, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal.



Accurate regulation of Notch signalling is central for developmental processes in a variety of tissues, but its function in pectoral fin development in zebrafish is still unknown.


Here we show that core elements necessary for a functional Notch pathway are expressed in developing pectoral fins in or near prospective muscle territories. Blocking Notch signalling at different levels of the pathway consistently leads to the formation of thin, wavy, fragmented and mechanically weak muscles fibres and loss of stress fibres in endoskeletal disc cells in pectoral fins. Although the structural muscle genes encoding Desmin and Vinculin are normally transcribed in Notch-disrupted pectoral fins, their proteins levels are severely reduced, suggesting that weak mechanical forces produced by the muscle fibres are unable to stabilize/localize these proteins. Moreover, in Notch signalling disrupted pectoral fins there is a decrease in the number of Pax7-positive cells indicative of a defect in myogenesis.


We propose that by controlling the differentiation of myogenic progenitor cells, Notch signalling might secure the formation of structurally stable muscle fibres in the zebrafish pectoral fin.

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