The zebrafish mutant bumper shows a hyperproliferation of lens epithelial cells and fibre cell degeneration leading to functional blindness

Schonthaler, H.B., Franz-Odendaal, T.A., Hodel, C., Gehring, I., Geisler, R., Schwarz, H., Neuhauss, S.C., and Dahm, R.
Mechanisms of Development   127(3-4): 203-219 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Dahm, Ralf, Franz-Odendaal, Tamara, Gehring, Ines, Geisler, Robert, Hodel, Corinne, Neuhauss, Stephan
zebrafish (Danio rerio), embryonic development, eye, vision, lens fibre cell differentiation, tumor-/ tumour-like hyperproliferation, head skeletons
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Blindness/pathology
  • Blindness/physiopathology*
  • Epithelial Cells/cytology
  • Eye Proteins/genetics
  • Eye Proteins/physiology*
  • Lens, Crystalline/cytology*
  • Mutation*
  • Zebrafish/embryology*
20117205 Full text @ Mech. Dev.
The development of the eye lens is one of the classical paradigms of induction during embryonic development in vertebrates. But while there have been numerous studies aimed at discovering the genetic networks controlling early lens development, comparatively little is known about later stages, including the differentiation of secondary lens fibre cells. The analysis of mutant zebrafish isolated in forward genetic screens is an important way to investigate the roles of genes in embryogenesis. In this study we describe the zebrafish mutant bumper (bum), which shows a transient, tumour-like hyperproliferation of the lens epithelium as well as a progressively stronger defect in secondary fibre cell differentiation, which results in a significantly reduced lens size and ectopic location of the lens within the neural retina. Interestingly, the initial hyperproliferation of the lens epithelium in bum spontaneously regresses, suggesting this mutant as a valuable model to study the molecular control of tumour progression/suppression. Behavioural analyses demonstrate that, despite a morphologically normal retina, larval and adult bum(-/-) zebrafish are functionally blind. We further show that these fish have defects in their craniofacial skeleton with normal but delayed formation of the scleral ossicles within the eye, several reduced craniofacial bones resulting in an abnormal skull shape, and asymmetric ectopic bone formation within the mandible. Genetic mapping located the mutation in bum to a 4 cM interval on chromosome 7 with the closest markers located at 0.2 and 0 cM, respectively.
Genes / Markers
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Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes