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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-235

Seiler, C; Finger-Baier, K C; Rinner, O; Makhankov, Y V; Schwarz, H; Neuhauss, S C F; Nicolson, T (2005). Duplicated genes with split functions: independent roles of protocadherin15 orthologues in zebrafish hearing and vision. Development, 132(3):615-623.


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In the sensory receptors of both the eye and the ear, specialized apical structures have evolved to detect environmental stimuli such as light and sound. Despite the morphological divergence of these specialized structures and differing transduction mechanisms, the receptors appear to rely in part on a shared group of genes for function. For example, mutations in Usher (USH) genes cause a syndrome of visual and acoustic-vestibular deficits in humans. Several of the affected genes have been identified, including the USH1F gene, which encodes protocadherin 15 (PCDH15). Pcdh15 mutant mice also have both auditory and vestibular defects, although visual defects are not evident. Here we show that zebrafish have two closely related pcdh15 genes that are required for receptor-cell function and morphology in the eye or ear. Mutations in pcdh15a cause deafness and vestibular dysfunction, presumably because hair bundles of inner-ear receptors are splayed. Vision, however, is not affected in pcdh15a mutants. By contrast, reduction of pcdh15b activity using antisense morpholino oligonucleotides causes a visual defect. Optokinetic and electroretinogram responses are reduced in pcdh15b morpholino-injected larvae. In electron micrographs, morphant photoreceptor outer segments are improperly arranged, positioned perpendicular to the retinal pigment epithelium and are clumped together. Our results suggest that both cadherins act within their respective transduction organelles: Pcdh15a is necessary for integrity of the stereociliary bundle, whereas Pcdh15b is required for alignment and interdigitation of photoreceptor outer segments with the pigment epithelium. We conclude that after a duplication of pcdh15, one gene retained an essential function in the ear and the other in the eye.


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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Date:1 February 2005
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:13
Last Modified:27 Nov 2013 22:59
Publisher:Company of Biologists
Publisher DOI:10.1242/dev.01591
PubMed ID:15634702

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