Herberger, A.L., and Loretz, C.A. (2013) Morpholino oligonucleotide knockdown of the extracellular calcium-sensing receptor impairs early skeletal development in zebrafish. Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology. 166(3):470-81.
The complex vertebrate skeleton depends on regulated cell activities to lay down protein matrix and mineral components of bone. As a distinctive vertebrate characteristic, bone is a storage site for physiologically-important calcium ion. The extracellular calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) is linked to homeostatic regulation of calcium through its expression in endocrine glands that secrete calcium homeostatic hormones, in Ca2 +- and ion-transporting epithelia, and in skeleton. Since CaSR is restricted in its presence to the chordate–vertebrate evolutionary lineage, we propose there to be important functional ties between CaSRs and vertebrate skeleton in the context of that group's characteristic form of calcium-mineralized skeleton. Since little is known about CaSR in the skeletal biology of non-mammalian vertebrates, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry were applied to adult and embryonic zebrafish to reveal CaSR transcript and protein expression in several tissues, including, among these, chondrocytes and developing bone and notochord as components in skeletal development. Morpholino oligonucleotide (MO) knockdown technique was used to probe CaSR role(s) in the zebrafish model system. By RT-PCR assessment, injection of a splice-inhibiting CaSR MO reduced normally-spliced Casr gene transcript expression measured at 2 days postfertilization (dpf). Corresponding to the knockdown of normally-spliced mRNA by the CaSR MO, we observed a morphant phenotype characterized by stunted growth and disorganization of the notochord and axial skeleton by 1 dpf. We conclude that, like its critically important role in normal bone development in mammals, CaSR is essential in skeletogenesis in fishes.