ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-091204-14
The Zebrafish Embryo: A Powerful Model System for Investigating Matrix Remodeling
Wyatt, R.A., Keow, J.Y., Harris, N.D., Haché, C.A., Li, D.H., and Crawford, B.D.
Date: 2009
Source: Zebrafish   6(4): 347-354 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Crawford, Bryan D., Harris, Natalie
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian/enzymology
  • Extracellular Matrix/enzymology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases/genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases/metabolism*
  • Models, Animal
  • Phylogeny
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases/genetics
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases/metabolism
  • Zebrafish/embryology*
  • Zebrafish/genetics
  • Zebrafish/metabolism*
  • Zebrafish Proteins/genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism*
PubMed: 19929220 Full text @ Zebrafish
Extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling is a process that is crucial to the development of embryos, the growth and metastasis of tumors, and wound healing and homeostasis of tissues in adults. As such, it involves dozens of gene products that are regulated by mechanisms operating at transcriptional and multiple posttranslational levels. This complexity of regulation has made the development of a comprehensive understanding of the biology of ECM remodeling in vivo an unusually challenging task, yet such an understanding would be of profound value to our knowledge of and clinical approaches to the treatment of many cancers. The primary effectors of ECM remodeling are the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Homologs of this gene family have been identified in every metazoan examined. We propose that the zebrafish embryo is an ideal system for the study of the regulation of MMP activity, and we present some progress we have made in the development of this organism as a platform for MMP research. We have identified 25 genes encoding MMPs in the zebrafish genome, and 5 genes encoding their endogenous inhibitors, the tissue inhibitors of MMPs. Based on a phylogenetic analysis, we have identified the most probable homologies of these sequences and found that there are two that are of equivocal identity. We have developed 17 antibodies specific to zebrafish MMPs and have begun characterizing the ontogeny of these molecules. Finally, we have developed two novel assays that allow the detection and characterization of active MMPs in vivo (differential in vivo zymography and activity-based protease profiling). In combination with the array of powerful biochemical, genomic, cell, and molecular biological techniques available to zebrafish researchers already, we feel that these new reagents and techniques make the zebrafish the best model system for the study of MMP regulation currently available.