The objective of the current study was to investigate the effects of Ca2+ levels on myofibril alignment during zebrafish embryogenesis. To investigate how altered cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels affect myofibril alignment, we exposed zebrafish embryos to 2-aminothoxyldiphenyl borate (2-APB; an inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor inhibitor that reduces cytosolic Ca2+ levels) and caffeine (a ryanodine receptor activator that enhances cytosolic Ca2+ levels). The results demonstrated that the most evident changes in zebrafish embryos treated with 2-APB were shorter body length, curved trunk and malformed somite boundary. In contrast, such malformed phenotypes were evident neither in untreated controls nor in caffeine-treated embryos. Subtle morphological changes, including changes in muscle fibers, F-actin and ultrastructures were easily observed by staining with specific monoclonal antibodies (F59 and α-laminin), fluorescent probes (phalloidin) and by transmission electron microscopy. Our data suggested that: (1) the exposure to 2-APB and/or caffeine led to myofibril misalignment; (2) 2-APB-treated embryos displayed split and short myofibril phenotypes, whereas muscle fibers from caffeine-treated embryos were twisted and wavy; and (3) zebrafish embryos co-exposed to 2-APB and caffeine resulted in normal myofibril alignment. In conclusion, we proposed that cytosolic Ca2+ is important for myogenesis, particularly for myofibril alignment.
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