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PLoS One. 2014 Mar 3;9(3):e90590. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090590. eCollection 2014.

An α-smooth muscle actin (acta2/αsma) zebrafish transgenic line marking vascular mural cells and visceral smooth muscle cells.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Smooth Muscle Research Group, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
2
VIB Vesalius Research Center, University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Leuven, Belgium.

Abstract

Mural cells of the vascular system include vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and pericytes whose role is to stabilize and/or provide contractility to blood vessels. One of the earliest markers of mural cell development in vertebrates is α smooth muscle actin (acta2; αsma), which is expressed by pericytes and SMCs. In vivo models of vascular mural cell development in zebrafish are currently lacking, therefore we developed two transgenic zebrafish lines driving expression of GFP or mCherry in acta2-expressing cells. These transgenic fish were used to trace the live development of mural cells in embryonic and larval transgenic zebrafish. acta2:EGFP transgenic animals show expression that largely mirrors native acta2 expression, with early pan-muscle expression starting at 24 hpf in the heart muscle, followed by skeletal and visceral muscle. At 3.5 dpf, expression in the bulbus arteriosus and ventral aorta marks the first expression in vascular smooth muscle. Over the next 10 days of development, the number of acta2:EGFP positive cells and the number of types of blood vessels associated with mural cells increases. Interestingly, the mural cells are not motile and remain in the same position once they express the acta2:EGFP transgene. Taken together, our data suggests that zebrafish mural cells develop relatively late, and have little mobility once they associate with vessels.

PMID:
24594685
PMCID:
PMC3940907
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0090590
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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