Tucker, N.R., Ustyugov, A., Bryantsev, A.L., Konkel, M.E., and Shelden, E.A. (2009) Hsp27 is persistently expressed in zebrafish skeletal and cardiac muscle tissues but dispensable for their morphogenesis. Cell stress & chaperones. 14(5):521-533.
Constitutive expression of Hsp27 has been demonstrated in vertebrate embryos, especially in developing skeletal and cardiac muscle. Results of several previous studies have indicated that Hsp27 could play a role in the development of these tissues. For example, inhibition of Hsp27 expression has been reported to cause defective development of mammalian myoblasts in vitro and frog embryos in vivo. In contrast, transgenic mice lacking Hsp27 develop normally. Here, we examined the distribution of Hsp27 protein in developing and adult zebrafish and effects of suppressing Hsp27 expression using phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligonucleotides (PMO) on zebrafish development. Consistent with our previous analysis of hsp27 messenger RNA expression, we detected the protein Hsp27 in cardiac, smooth, and skeletal muscle of both embryonic and adult zebrafish. However, embryos lacking detectable Hsp27 after injection of antisense hsp27 PMO exhibited comparable heart beat rates to that of control embryos and cardiac morphology was indistinguishable in the presence or absence of Hsp27. Loss of Hsp27 also had no effect on the structure of the skeletal muscle myotomes in the developing embryo. Finally, embryos injected with antisense hsp27 and scrambled control PMO displayed equal motility. We conclude that Hsp27 is dispensable for zebrafish morphogenesis but could play a role in long-term maintenance of heart and muscle tissues.