Cibrian-Uhalte, E., Langenbacher, A., Shu, X., Chen, J.N., and Abdelilah-Seyfried, S. (2007) Involvement of zebrafish Na+,K+ ATPase in myocardial cell junction maintenance. The Journal of cell biology. 176(2):223-230.
Na(+),K(+) ATPase is an essential ion pump involved in regulating ionic concentrations within epithelial cells. The zebrafish heart and mind (had) mutation, which disrupts the alpha1B1 subunit of Na(+),K(+) ATPase, causes heart tube elongation defects and other developmental abnormalities that are reminiscent of several epithelial cell polarity mutants, including nagie oko (nok). We demonstrate genetic interactions between had and nok in maintaining Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1)-positive junction belts within myocardial cells. Functional tests and pharmacological inhibition experiments demonstrate that Na(+),K(+) ATPase activity is positively regulated via an N-terminal phosphorylation site that is necessary for correct heart morphogenesis to occur, and that maintenance of ZO-1 junction belts requires ion pump activity. These findings suggest that the correct ionic balance of myocardial cells is essential for the maintenance of epithelial integrity during heart morphogenesis.