ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-181221-6
NEFLb impairs early nervous system development via regulation of neuron apoptosis in zebrafish
Wang, S., Ji, D., Yang, Q., Li, M., Ma, Z., Zhang, S., Li, H.
Neurofilament light chain (NEFL), a subunit of neurofilament, has been shown to play an important role in pathogenic neurodegenerative disease and in radial axonal growth. However, information remains largely lacking regarding the function of NEFL in early development to date. In this study, we demonstrated the presence of two nefl genes, nefla and neflb, in zebrafish, generated by fish-specific third round genome duplication. These duplicated nefl genes were predominantly expressed in the nervous system with an overlapping and distinct expression pattern. Both gene knockdown and rescue experiments show that it was neflb rather than nefla that played an indispensable role in nervous system development. It was also found that neflb knockdown resulted in striking apoptosis of the neurons in the brain and spinal cord, leading to morphological defects such as brain structure disorder and trunk bending. Thus, we report a previously uncharacterized role of NEFL that NEFLb impairs the early development of zebrafish nervous system via regulation of the neuron apoptosis in the brain and spinal cord.