Background: The zona pellucida (ZP) domain is part of many extracellular proteins with diverse functions from structural components to receptors. The mammalian β-tectorin is a protein of 336 amino acid residues containing a single ZP domain and a putative signal peptide at the N-terminus of the protein. It is 1 component of a gel-like structure called the tectorial membrane which is involved in transforming sound waves into neuronal signals and is important for normal auditory function. β-Tectorin is specifically expressed in the mammalian and avian inner ear. Methodology/Principal Findings: We identified and cloned the gene encoding zebrafish β-tectorin. Through whole-mount in situ hybridization, we demonstrated that β-tectorin messenger RNA was expressed in the otic placode and specialized sensory patch of the inner ear during zebrafish embryonic stages. Morpholino knockdown of zebrafish β-tectorin affected the position and number of otoliths in the ears of morphants. Finally, swimming behaviors of β-tectorin morphants were abnormal since the development of the inner ear was compromised. Conclusions/Significance: Our results reveal that zebrafish β-tectorin is specifically expressed in the zebrafish inner ear, and is important for regulating the development of the zebrafish inner ear. Lack of zebrafish β-tectorin caused severe defects in inner ear formation of otoliths and function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)