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Mol Biol Cell. 2019 Feb 1;30(3):293-301. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E18-06-0401. Epub 2018 Dec 5.

Fer1l6 is essential for the development of vertebrate muscle tissue in zebrafish.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.
Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.
Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.


The precise spatial and temporal expression of genes is essential for proper organismal development. Despite their importance, however, many developmental genes have yet to be identified. We have determined that Fer1l6, a member of the ferlin family of genes, is a novel factor in zebrafish development. We find that Fer1l6 is expressed broadly in the trunk and head of zebrafish larvae and is more restricted to gills and female gonads in adult zebrafish. Using both genetic mutant and morpholino knockdown models, we found that loss of Fer1l6 led to deformation of striated muscle tissues, delayed development of the heart, and high morbidity. Further, expression of genes associated with muscle cell proliferation and differentiation were affected. Fer1l6 was also detected in the C2C12 cell line, and unlike other ferlin homologues, we found Fer1l6 expression was independent of the myoblast-to-myotube transition. Finally, analysis of cell and recombinant protein-based assays indicate that Fer1l6 colocalizes with syntaxin 4 and vinculin, and that the putative C2 domains interact with lipid membranes. We conclude that Fer1l6 has diverged from other vertebrate ferlins to play an essential role in zebrafish skeletal and cardiac muscle development.

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