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Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, Germany

Schulte-Merker S.,Hubrecht Institute KNAW | Schulte-Merker S.,Institute for Cardiovascular Organogenesis and Regeneration | Stainier D.Y.R.,Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research
Development (Cambridge) | Year: 2014

Morpholino oligomers have been used widely and for many years in the zebrafish community to transiently knock down the function of target genes. It has often been difficult, however, to reliably discriminate between specific and non-specific effects, and thus generally accepted guidelines to control for morpholino side effects do not exist. In light of recent methodologies to generate mutant lines in virtually any zebrafish gene, we discuss these different approaches with a specific focus on how the first description of a loss-of-function phenotype in zebrafish should be accomplished. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. Source

de Vrieze E.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Zethof J.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Schulte-Merker S.,Hubrecht Institute KNAW and UMC Utrecht | Schulte-Merker S.,Institute for Cardiovascular Organogenesis and Regeneration | And 3 more authors.
Bone | Year: 2015

Tight interactions among different cell types contributing to bone formation are of key importance in the maintenance of bone homeostasis. Based on the high similarity in responses to (anti)osteogenic signals between zebrafish scales and mammalian bone, we developed and validated a model to screen large numbers of compounds using ex-vivo cultured scales of a sp7:luciferase transgenic zebrafish. This model combines the high predictive value of explant cultures with quick, sensitive, and quantifiable readout converging the effects via various pathways including WNT-signaling, to SP7/osterix promoter activity. Sp7 is pivotal in osteoblast differentiation and activity and its promoter activity provides an excellent surrogate for sp7 expression. Bmp-2a was shown to dose-dependently increase sp7-driven luciferase activity ex vivo. Next, we identified novel effects on bone for 51.7% of the compounds from a small library of WNT-signaling modulators, including a strong osteogenic effect for niclosamide. From all previously characterized compounds, the effect on bone was correctly predicted for 70% of compounds, resulting in a 7% false positive- and 21% false negative rate. The proposed sp7:luciferase zebrafish scale model is unique, powerful and efficient new tool to assess compounds with osteogenic effects, prior to further testing in rodents. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Source

Roukens M.G.,Hubrecht Institute | Peterson-Maduro J.,Hubrecht Institute | Padberg Y.,Hubrecht Institute | Padberg Y.,Institute for Cardiovascular Organogenesis and Regeneration | And 15 more authors.
Circulation Research | Year: 2015

Rationale: Collagen- and calcium-binding EGF domain-containing protein 1 (CCBE1) is essential for lymphangiogenesis in vertebrates and has been associated with Hennekam syndrome. Recently, CCBE1 has emerged as a crucial regulator of vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGFC) signaling. Objective: CCBE1 is a secreted protein characterized by 2 EGF domains and 2 collagen repeats. The functional role of the different CCBE1 protein domains is completely unknown. Here, we analyzed the functional role of the different CCBE1 domains in vivo and in vitro. Methods and Results: We analyzed the functionality of several CCBE1 deletion mutants by generating knock-in mice expressing these mutants, by analyzing their ability to enhance Vegfc signaling in vivo in zebrafish, and by testing their ability to induce VEGFC processing in vitro. We found that deleting the collagen domains of CCBE1 has a much stronger effect on CCBE1 activity than deleting the EGF domains. First, although CCBE1ΔCollagen mice fully phenocopy CCBE1 knock-out mice, CCBE1ΔEGF knock-in embryos still form rudimentary lymphatics. Second, Ccbe1ΔEGF, but not Ccbe1ΔCollagen, could partially substitute for Ccbe1 to enhance Vegfc signaling in zebrafish. Third, CCBE1ΔEGF, similarly to CCBE1, but not CCBE1ΔCollagen could activate VEGFC processing in vitro. Furthermore, a Hennekam syndrome mutation within the collagen domain has a stronger effect than a Hennekam syndrome mutation within the EGF domain. Conclusions: We propose that the collagen domains of CCBE1 are crucial for the activation of VEGFC in vitro and in vivo. The EGF domains of CCBE1 are dispensable for regulation of VEGFC processing in vitro, however, they are necessary for full lymphangiogenic activity of CCBE1 in vivo. © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc. Source

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