Omata, Y., Nojima, Y., Nakayama, S., Okamoto, H., Nakamura, H., and Funahashi, J.I. (2007) Role of Bone morphogenetic protein 4 in zebrafish semicircular canal development. Development, Growth & Differentiation. 49(9):711-719.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are known to play roles in inner ear development of higher vertebrates. In zebrafish, there are several reports showing that members of the BMP family are expressed in the otic vesicle. We have isolated a novel zebrafish mutant gallery, which affects the development of the semicircular canal. Gallery merely forms the lateral and the immature anterior protrusion, and does not form posterior and ventral protrusions. We found that the expression of bmp2b and bmp4, both expressed in the normal optic vesicle at the protrusion stage, are extremely upregulated in the otic vesicle of gallery. To elucidate the role of BMPs in the development of the inner ear of zebrafish, we have applied excess BMP to the wild-type otic vesicle. The formation of protrusions was severely affected, and in some cases, they were completely lost in BMP4-treated embryos. Furthermore, the protrusions in gallery treated with Noggin were partially rescued. These data indicate that BMP4 plays an important role in the development of protrusions to form semicircular canals.