Abbate, F., Madrigrano, M., Scopitteri, T., Levanti, M., Cobo, J.L., Germanà, A., Vega, J.A., Laurà, R. (2016) Acid-sensing ion channel immunoreactivities in the cephalic neuromasts of adult zebrafish. Annals of anatomy = Anatomischer Anzeiger : official organ of the Anatomische Gesellschaft. 207:27-31.
The neuromasts are the morphofunctional unit of the lateral line system serving as mechanosensors for water flow and movement. The mechanisms underlying the detection of the mechanical stimuli in the vertebrate mechanosensory cells remain poorly understood at the molecular level, and no information is available on neuromasts. Mechanotransduction is the conversion of a mechanical stimulus into an electrical signal via activation of ion channels. The acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are presumably involved in mechanosensation, and therefore are expected to be expressed in the mechanoreceptors. Here we used immunohistochemistry to investigate the occurrence and distribution of ASICs in the cephalic neuromasts of the adult zebrafish. Specific immunoreactivity for ASIC1 and ASIC4 was detected in the hair cells while ASIC2 was restricted to the nerves supplying neuromasts. Moreover, supporting and mantle cells; i.e. the non-sensory cells of the neuromasts, also displayed ASIC4. For the first time, these results demonstrate the presence of the putative mechanoproteins ASIC1, ASIC2 and ASIC4 in neuromasts, suggesting a role for these ion channels in mechanosensation.