Structure determination of proteins and other macromolecules has historically required the growth of high-quality crystals sufficiently large to diffract x-rays efficiently while withstanding radiation damage. We applied serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) using an x-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) to obtain high-resolution structural information from microcrystals (less than 1 micrometer by 1 micrometer by 3 micrometers) of the well-characterized model protein lysozyme. The agreement with synchrotron data demonstrates the immediate relevance of SFX for analyzing the structure of the large group of difficult-to-crystallize molecules.
The Trypanosoma brucei cysteine protease cathepsin B (TbCatB), which is involved in host protein degradation, is a promising target to develop new treatments against sleeping sickness, a fatal disease caused by this protozoan parasite. The structure of the mature, active form of TbCatB has so far not provided sufficient information for the design of a safe and specific drug against T. brucei. By combining two recent innovations, in vivo crystallization and serial femtosecond crystallography, we obtained the room-temperature 2.1 angstrom resolution structure of the fully glycosylated precursor complex of TbCatB. The structure reveals the mechanism of native TbCatB inhibition and demonstrates that new biomolecular information can be obtained by the “diffraction-before-destruction” approach of x-ray free-electron lasers from hundreds of thousands of individual microcrystals.
X-ray free-electron lasers have enabled new approaches to the structural determination of protein crystals that are too small or radiation-sensitive for conventional analysis1. For sufficiently short pulses, diffraction is collected before significant changes occur to the sample, and it has been predicted that pulses as short as 10 fs may be required to acquire atomic-resolution structural information1–4. Here, we describe a mechanism unique to ultrafast, ultra-intense X-ray experiments that allows structural information to be collected from crystalline samples using high radiation doses without the requirement for the pulse to terminate before the onset of sample damage. Instead, the diffracted X-rays are gated by a rapid loss of crystalline periodicity, producing apparent pulse lengths significantly shorter than the duration of the incident pulse. The shortest apparent pulse lengths occur at the highest resolution, and our measurements indicate that current X-ray free-electron laser technology5 should enable structural determination from submicrometre protein crystals with atomic resolution.
For effective information processing, two large-scale distributed neural networks appear to be critical: a multimodal executive system anchored on the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and a salience system anchored on the anterior insula. Aberrant interaction among distributed networks is a feature of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. We used whole-brain Granger causal modeling using resting fMRI and observed a significant failure of both the feedforward and reciprocal influence between the insula and the DLPFC in schizophrenia. Further, a significant failure of directed influence from bilateral visual cortices to the insula was also seen in patients. These findings provide compelling evidence for a breakdown of the salience-execution loop in the clinical expression of psychosis. In addition, this offers a parsimonious explanation for the often-observed “frontal inefficiency,” the failure to recruit prefrontal system when salient or novel information becomes available in patients with schizophrenia.
•A salience-executive loop emerges on fMRI whole-brain Granger causal analysis•At rest, DLPFC has inhibitory Granger influence on the salience network•In schizophrenia, the salience-executive interaction is diminished•Visual cortex fails to influence the salience network in schizophrenia
Palaniyappan et al. show that in patients with schizophrenia, a reciprocal salience-execution loop involving anterior insula and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex disintegrates along with a failure of hierarchical influence from sensory regions to the salience processing system.
Connexin (Cx) proteins form intercellular gap junction channels by first assembling into single membrane hemichannels that then dock to connect the cytoplasm of two adjacent cells. Gap junctions are highly specialized structures that allow the direct passage of small molecules between cells to maintain tissue homeostasis. Functional activity of nonjunctional hemichannels has now been shown in several experimental systems. Hemichannels may constitute an important diffusional exchange pathway with the extracellular space, but the extent of their normal physiological role is currently unknown. Aberrant hemichannel activity has been linked to mutations of connexin proteins involved in genetic diseases. Here, we review a proposed role for hemichannels in the pathogenesis of Keratitis-Ichthyosis-Deafness (KID) syndrome associated with connexin26 (Cx26) mutations. Continued functional evaluation of mutated hemichannels linked to human hereditary disorders may provide additional insights into the mechanisms governing their regulation in normal physiology and dysregulation in disease.
connexin; mutation; genetic disease; channel; epidermis
Sorex araneus, the Common shrew, is a species with more than 70 karyotypic races, many of which form parapatric hybrid zones, making it a model for studying chromosomal speciation. Hybrids between races have reduced fitness, but microsatellite markers have demonstrated considerable gene flow between them, calling into question whether the chromosomal barriers actually do contribute to genetic divergence. We studied phenotypic clines across two hybrid zones with especially complex heterozygotes. Hybrids between the Novosibirsk and Tomsk races produce chains of nine and three chromosomes at meiosis, and hybrids between the Moscow and Seliger races produce chains of eleven. Our goal was to determine whether phenotypes show evidence of reduced gene flow at hybrid zones. We used maximum likelihood to fit tanh cline models to geometric shape data and found that phenotypic clines in skulls and mandibles across these zones had similar centers and widths as chromosomal clines. The amount of phenotypic differentiation across the zones is greater than expected if it were dissipating due to unrestricted gene flow given the amount of time since contact, but it is less than expected to have accumulated from drift during allopatric separation in glacial refugia. Only if heritability is very low, Ne very high, and the time spent in allopatry very short, will the differences we observe be large enough to match the expectation of drift. Our results therefore suggest that phenotypic differentiation has been lost through gene flow since post-glacial secondary contact, but not as quickly as would be expected if there was free gene flow across the hybrid zones. The chromosomal tension zones are confirmed to be partial barriers that prevent differentiated races from becoming phenotypically homogenous.
Previous experiments showed that mouse lenses have an intracellular hydrostatic pressure that varied from 335 mm Hg in central fibers to 0 mm Hg in surface cells. Model calculations predicted that in larger lenses, all else equal, pressure should increase as the lens radius squared. To test this prediction, lenses of different radii from different species were studied.
All studies were done in intact lenses. Intracellular hydrostatic pressures were measured with a microelectrode-manometer–based system. Membrane conductances were measured by frequency domain impedance analysis. Intracellular Na+ concentrations were measured by injecting the Na+-sensitive dye sodium-binding benzofuran isophthalate.
Intracellular hydrostatic pressures were measured in lenses from mice, rats, rabbits, and dogs with radii (cm) 0.11, 0.22, 0.49, and 0.57, respectively. In each species, pressure varied from 335 ± 6 mm Hg in central fiber cells to 0 mm Hg in surface cells. Further characterization of transport in lenses from mice and rats showed that the density of fiber cell gap junction channels was approximately the same, intracellular Na+ concentrations varied from 17 mM in central fiber cells to 7 mM in surface cells, and intracellular voltages varied from −45 mV in central fiber cells to −60 mV in surface cells. Fiber cell membrane conductance was a factor of 2.7 times larger in mouse than in rat lenses.
Intracellular hydrostatic pressure is an important physiological parameter that is regulated in lenses from these different species. The most likely mechanism of regulation is to reduce the density of open Na+-leak channels in fiber cells of larger lenses.
This study involves measurements of intracellular hydrostatic pressures in intact lenses from various animals. Intracellular Na concentration, intracellular voltage, and frequency domain impedance were also measured in rat and mouse lenses to determine how pressure is regulated.
A processing pipeline for diffraction data acquired using the ‘serial crystallography’ methodology with a free-electron laser source is described with reference to the crystallographic analysis suite CrystFEL and the pre-processing program Cheetah.
A processing pipeline for diffraction data acquired using the ‘serial crystallography’ methodology with a free-electron laser source is described with reference to the crystallographic analysis suite CrystFEL and the pre-processing program Cheetah. A detailed analysis of the nature and impact of indexing ambiguities is presented. Simulations of the Monte Carlo integration scheme, which accounts for the partially recorded nature of the diffraction intensities, are presented and show that the integration of partial reflections could be made to converge more quickly if the bandwidth of the X-rays were to be increased by a small amount or if a slight convergence angle were introduced into the incident beam.
data processing; free-electron lasers; serial crystallography; CrystFEL; Cheetah
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide and causes over 250,000 deaths each year1. Overtreatment of indolent disease also results in significant morbidity2. Common genetic alterations in prostate cancer include losses of NKX3.1 (8p21)3,4 and PTEN (10q23)5,6, gains of the androgen receptor gene (AR)7,8 and fusion of ETS-family transcription factor genes with androgen-responsive promoters9–11. Recurrent somatic base-pair substitutions are believed to be less contributory in prostate tumorigenesis12,13 but have not been systematically analyzed in large cohorts. Here we sequenced the exomes of 112 prostate tumor/normal pairs. Novel recurrent mutations were identified in multiple genes, including MED12 and FOXA1. SPOP was the most frequently mutated gene, with mutations involving the SPOP substrate binding cleft in 6–15% of tumors across multiple independent cohorts. SPOP-mutant prostate cancers lacked ETS rearrangements and exhibited a distinct pattern of genomic alterations. Thus, SPOP mutations may define a new molecular subtype of prostate cancer.
Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) is the primary regulator of the tissue factor (TF) coagulation pathway. As such, TFPI may regulate the pro-angiogenic effects of TF. TFPI may also affect angiogenesis independently of TF, through sequences within its polybasic carboxyl terminus (TFPIct). We aimed to determine the effects of TFPI on angiogenesis and the role of TFPIct.
Methods and results
Transgenic overexpression of TFPI attenuated angiogenesis in the murine hind-limb ischemia model and an aortic sprout assay. In vitro, TFPI inhibited endothelial cell (EC) migration. Peptides within the human TFPI carboxyl terminus (hTFPIct) inhibited EC cord formation and migration in response to VEGF165 but not VEGF-121. Furthermore, exposure to hTFPIct inhibited the phosphorylation of VEGFR2 at residue K951, a residue known to be critical for EC migration. Finally, systemic delivery of a murine TFPIct peptide inhibited angiogenesis in the hind-limb model.
These data demonstrate an inhibitory role for TFPI in angiogenesis that is, in part, mediated through peptides within its carboxyl terminus. In addition to its known role as a TF-antagonist, TFPI, via its carboxyl terminus, may regulate angiogenesis by directly blocking VEGFR2 activation and attenuating the migratory capacity of endothelial cells.
angiogenesis; tissue factor; murine model; hemostasis; thrombosis
We demonstrate the use of an X-ray free electron laser synchronized with an optical pump laser to obtain X-ray diffraction snapshots from the photoactivated states of large membrane protein complexes in the form of nanocrystals flowing in a liquid jet. Light-induced changes of Photosystem I-Ferredoxin co-crystals were observed at time delays of 5 to 10 µs after excitation. The result correlates with the microsecond kinetics of electron transfer from Photosystem I to ferredoxin. The undocking process that follows the electron transfer leads to large rearrangements in the crystals that will terminally lead to the disintegration of the crystals. We describe the experimental setup and obtain the first time-resolved femtosecond serial X-ray crystallography results from an irreversible photo-chemical reaction at the Linac Coherent Light Source. This technique opens the door to time-resolved structural studies of reaction dynamics in biological systems.
(170.7160) Ultrafast technology; (170.7440) X-ray imaging; (140.3450) Laser-induced chemistry; (140.7090) Ultrafast lasers; (170.0170) Medical optics and biotechnology
Effective estimation of the salience of environmental stimuli underlies adaptive behavior, while related aberrance is believed to undermine rational thought processes in schizophrenia. A network including bilateral frontoinsular cortex (FIC) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) has been observed to respond to salient stimuli using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). To test the hypothesis that activity in this salience network (SN) is less discriminately modulated by contextually-relevant stimuli in schizophrenia than in healthy individuals, fMRI data were collected in 20 individuals with schizophrenia and 13 matched controls during performance of a modified monetary incentive delay (MID) task. After quantitatively identifying spatial components representative of the FIC and dACC features of the SN, two principal analyses were conducted. In the first, modulation of SN activity by salience was assessed by measuring response to trial outcome. First-level general linear models were applied to individual-specific time-courses of SN activity identified using spatial independent component analysis (ICA). This analysis revealed a significant salience-by-performance-by-group interaction on the best-fit FIC component's activity at trial outcome, whereby healthy individuals but not individuals with schizophrenia exhibited greater distinction between the response to hits and misses in high salience trials than in low salience trials. The second analysis aimed to ascertain whether SN component amplitude differed between the study groups over the duration of the experiment. Independent-samples T-tests on back-projected, percent-signal-change scaled SN component images importantly showed that the groups did not differ in the overall amplitude of SN expression over the entire dataset. These findings of dysregulated but not decreased SN activity in schizophrenia provide physiological support for mechanistic conceptual frameworks of delusional thought formation.
schizophrenia; salience; cortical networks; fMRI; reward
The mouse semi-dominant Nm2249 mutation displays variable cataracts in heterozygous mice and smaller lenses with severe cataracts in homozygous mice. This mutation is caused by a Gja8R205G point mutation in the second extracellular loop of the Cx50 (or α8 connexin) protein. Immunohistological data reveal that Cx50-R205G mutant proteins and endogenous wild-type Cx46 (or α3 connexin) proteins form diffuse tiny spots rather than typical punctate signals of normal gap junctions in the lens. The level of phosphorylated Cx46 proteins is decreased in Gja8R205G/R205G mutant lenses. Genetic analysis reveals that the Cx50-R205G mutation needs the presence of wild-type Cx46 to disrupt lens peripheral fibers and epithelial cells. Electrophysiological data in Xenopus oocytes reveal that Cx50-R205G mutant proteins block channel function of gap junctions composed of wild-type Cx50, but only affect the gating of wild-type Cx46 channels. Both genetic and electrophysiological results suggest that Cx50-R205G mutant proteins alone are unable to form functional channels. These findings imply that the Gja8R205G mutation differentially impairs the functions of Cx50 and Cx46 to cause cataracts, small lenses and microphthalmia. The Gja8R205G mutation occurs at the same conserved residue as the human GJA8R198W mutation. This work provides molecular insights to understand the cataract and microphthalmia/microcornea phenotype caused by Gja8 mutations in mice and humans.
X-ray free electron laser (X-feL)-based serial femtosecond crystallography is an emerging method with potential to rapidly advance the challenging field of membrane protein structural biology. here we recorded interpretable diffraction data from micrometer-sized lipidic sponge phase crystals of the Blastochloris viridis photosynthetic reaction center delivered into an X-feL beam using a sponge phase micro-jet.
X-ray crystallography provides the vast majority of macromolecular structures, but the success of the method relies on growing crystals of sufficient size. In conventional measurements, the necessary increase in X-ray dose to record data from crystals that are too small leads to extensive damage before a diffraction signal can be recorded1-3. It is particularly challenging to obtain large, well-diffracting crystals of membrane proteins, for which fewer than 300 unique structures have been determined despite their importance in all living cells. Here we present a method for structure determination where single-crystal X-ray diffraction ‘snapshots’ are collected from a fully hydrated stream of nanocrystals using femtosecond pulses from a hard-X-ray free-electron laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source4. We prove this concept with nanocrystals of photosystem I, one of the largest membrane protein complexes5. More than 3,000,000 diffraction patterns were collected in this study, and a three-dimensional data set was assembled from individual photosystem I nanocrystals (~200 nm to 2 μm in size). We mitigate the problem of radiation damage in crystallography by using pulses briefer than the timescale of most damage processes6. This offers a new approach to structure determination of macromolecules that do not yield crystals of sufficient size for studies using conventional radiation sources or are particularly sensitive to radiation damage.
Protein crystallization in cells has been observed several times in nature. However, owing to their small size these crystals have not yet been used for X-ray crystallographic analysis. We prepared nano-sized in vivo–grown crystals of Trypanosoma brucei enzymes and applied the emerging method of free-electron laser-based serial femtosecond crystallography to record interpretable diffraction data. This combined approach will open new opportunities in structural systems biology.
We demonstrate the use of an X-ray free electron laser synchronized with an optical pump laser to obtain X-ray diffraction snapshots from the photoactivated states of large membrane protein complexes in the form of nanocrystals flowing in a liquid jet. Light-induced changes of Photosystem I-Ferredoxin co-crystals were observed at time delays of 5 to 10 μs after excitation. The result correlates with the microsecond kinetics of electron transfer from Photosystem I to ferredoxin. The undocking process that follows the electron transfer leads to large rearrangements in the crystals that will terminally lead to the disintegration of the crystals. We describe the experimental setup and obtain the first time-resolved femtosecond serial X-ray crystallography results from an irreversible photo-chemical reaction at the Linac Coherent Light Source. This technique opens the door to time-resolved structural studies of reaction dynamics in biological systems.
Tourniquets are compressive devices that occlude venous and arterial blood flow to limbs and are commonly used in upper limb surgery. With the potential risk of complications, there is some debate as to whether tourniquets should continue to be routinely used. In this review, we first look at the different designs, principles, and practical considerations associated with the use of tourniquets in the upper limb. The modern pneumatic tourniquet has many design features that enhance its safety profile. Current literature suggests that the risk of tourniquet-related complications can be significantly reduced by selecting cuff inflation pressures based on the limb occlusion pressure, and by a better understanding of the actual level of pressure within the soft tissue, and the effects of cuff width and contour. The evidence behind tourniquet time, placement, and limb exsanguination is also discussed as well as special considerations in patients with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, vascular calcification, sickle cell disease and obesity. We also provide an evidence-based review of the variety of local and systemic complications that may arise from the use of upper limb tourniquets including pain, leakage, and nerve, muscle, and skin injuries. The evidence in the literature suggests that upper limb tourniquets are beneficial in promoting optimum surgical conditions and modern tourniquet use is associated with a low rate of adverse events. With the improvement in knowledge and technology, the incidence of adverse events should continue to decrease. We recommend the use of tourniquets in upper limb surgery where no contraindications exist.
Tourniquet; Upper limb; Limb occlusion pressure; Complications
A complete set of structure factors has been extracted from hundreds of thousands of femtosecond X-ray diffraction patterns from randomly oriented Photosystem I membrane protein nanocrystals, using the Monte Carlo method of intensity integration. The data, collected at the Linac Coherent Light Source, are compared with conventional single-crystal data collected at a synchrotron source, and the quality of each data set was found to be similar.
A complete set of structure factors has been extracted from hundreds of thousands of femtosecond single-shot X-ray microdiffraction patterns taken from randomly oriented nanocrystals. The method of Monte Carlo integration over crystallite size and orientation was applied to experimental data from Photosystem I nanocrystals. This arrives at structure factors from many partial reflections without prior knowledge of the particle-size distribution. The data were collected at the Linac Coherent Light Source (the first hard-X-ray laser user facility), to which was fitted a hydrated protein nanocrystal injector jet, according to the method of serial crystallography. The data are single ‘still’ diffraction snapshots, each from a different nanocrystal with sizes ranging between 100 nm and 2 µm, so the angular width of Bragg peaks was dominated by crystal-size effects. These results were compared with single-crystal data recorded from large crystals of Photosystem I at the Advanced Light Source and the quality of the data was found to be similar. The implications for improving the efficiency of data collection by allowing the use of very small crystals, for radiation-damage reduction and for time-resolved diffraction studies at room temperature are discussed.
nanocrystals; femtosecond diffraction; free-electron lasers; Monte Carlo methods; protein microdiffraction
Dominant Cx26 mutations that cause keratitis-ichthyosis-deafness syndrome (KIDS) show increased hemichannel activity. Transgenic expression of these mutations recapitulates human skin disease in mice. Excess hemichannel activity persists in diseased epidermis from the transgenic mice. Thus hemichannel activity may be a novel therapeutic target in the treatment of KIDS.
Mutations in the GJB2 gene (Cx26) cause deafness in humans. Most are loss-of-function mutations and cause nonsyndromic deafness. Some mutations produce a gain of function and cause syndromic deafness associated with skin disorders, such as keratitis-ichthyosis-deafness syndrome (KIDS). Cx26-G45E is a lethal mutation linked to KIDS that forms constitutively active connexin hemichannels. The pathomechanism(s) by which mutant Cx26 hemichannels perturb normal epidermal cornification are poorly understood. We created an animal model for KIDS by generating an inducible transgenic mouse expressing Cx26-G45E in keratinocytes. Cx26-G45E mice displayed reduced viability, hyperkeratosis, scaling, skin folds, and hair loss. Histopathology included hyperplasia, acanthosis, papillomatosis, increased cell size, and osteal plugging. These abnormalities correlated with human KIDS pathology and were associated with increased hemichannel currents in transgenic keratinocytes. These results confirm the pathogenic nature of the G45E mutation and provide a new model for studying the role of aberrant connexin hemichannels in epidermal differentiation and inherited connexin disorders.
The simultaneous acquisition and subsequent analysis of EEG and fMRI data is challenging owing to increased noise levels in the EEG data. A common method to integrate data from these two modalities is to use aspects of the EEG data, such as the amplitudes of event-related potentials (ERP) or oscillatory EEG activity, to predict fluctuations in the fMRI data. However, this relies on the acquisition of high quality datasets to ensure that only the correlates of neuronal activity are being studied. In this study, we investigate the effects of head-motion-related artefacts in the EEG signal on the predicted T2*-weighted signal variation. We apply our analyses to two independent datasets: 1) four participants were asked to move their feet in the scanner to generate small head movements, and 2) four participants performed an episodic memory task. We created T2*-weighted signal predictors from indicators of abrupt head motion using derivatives of the realignment parameters, from visually detected artefacts in the EEG as well as from three EEG frequency bands (theta, alpha and beta). In both datasets, we found little correlation between the T2*-weighted signal and EEG predictors that were not convolved with the canonical haemodynamic response function (cHRF). However, all convolved EEG predictors strongly correlated with the T2*-weighted signal variation in various regions including the bilateral superior temporal cortex, supplementary motor area, medial parietal cortex and cerebellum. The finding that movement onset spikes in the EEG predict T2*-weighted signal intensity only when the time course of movements is convolved with the cHRF, suggests that the correlated signal might reflect a BOLD response to neural activity associated with head movement. Furthermore, the observation that broad-spectral EEG spikes tend to occur at the same time as abrupt head movements, together with the finding that abrupt movements and EEG spikes show similar correlations with the T2*-weighted signal, indicates that the EEG spikes are produced by abrupt movement and that continuous regressors of EEG oscillations contain motion-related noise even after stringent correction of the EEG data. If not properly removed, these artefacts complicate the use of EEG data as a predictor of T2*-weighted signal variation.
► We studied the effects of movement artefacts during simultaneous EEG and fMRI. ► Movement artefacts are evident in different EEG frequency bands. ► EEG movement artefacts cause spurious correlations with the T2*-weighted signal. ► Results show the need to develop techniques to detect and remove movement artefacts.
EEG/fMRI; Artefacts; Motion; Attention; Network
We recently modeled fluid flow through gap junction channels coupling the pigmented and nonpigmented layers of the ciliary body. The model suggested the channels could transport the secretion of aqueous humor, but flow would be driven by hydrostatic pressure rather than osmosis. The pressure required to drive fluid through a single layer of gap junctions might be just a few mmHg and difficult to measure. In the lens, however, there is a circulation of Na+ that may be coupled to intracellular fluid flow. Based on this hypothesis, the fluid would cross hundreds of layers of gap junctions, and this might require a large hydrostatic gradient. Therefore, we measured hydrostatic pressure as a function of distance from the center of the lens using an intracellular microelectrode-based pressure-sensing system. In wild-type mouse lenses, intracellular pressure varied from ∼330 mmHg at the center to zero at the surface. We have several knockout/knock-in mouse models with differing levels of expression of gap junction channels coupling lens fiber cells. Intracellular hydrostatic pressure in lenses from these mouse models varied inversely with the number of channels. When the lens’ circulation of Na+ was either blocked or reduced, intracellular hydrostatic pressure in central fiber cells was either eliminated or reduced proportionally. These data are consistent with our hypotheses: fluid circulates through the lens; the intracellular leg of fluid circulation is through gap junction channels and is driven by hydrostatic pressure; and the fluid flow is generated by membrane transport of sodium.
We have identified and characterized a zebrafish connexin, Cx30.3. Sequence similarity analyses suggested that Cx30.3 was orthologous to both mammalian Cx26 and Cx30, known to play important roles in the skin and inner ear of mammals. Analysis of mRNA expression showed that Cx30.3 was present in early embryos, and was highly abundant in skin, but also detected in other tissues including fins, inner ear, heart, and the retina. Injection of Cx30.3 cRNA into Xenopus oocytes elicited robust intercellular coupling with voltage gating sensitivity similar to mammalian Cx26 and Cx30. The similarities in functional properties and expression patterns suggest that Cx30.3, like mammalian Cx26 and Cx30, may play a significant role in skin development, hearing and balance in zebrafish. Thus, zebrafish could potentially serve as an excellent model to study disorders of the skin and deafness that result from human connexin mutations.
connexin; gap junction; zebrafish; embryo; skin; inner ear