Effects of decreased muscle activity on developing axial musculature in nic b107 mutant zebrafish (Danio rerio)

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The present paper discusses the effects of decreased muscle activity (DMA) on embryonic development in the zebrafish. Wild-type zebrafish embryos become mobile around 18 h post-fertilisation, long before the axial musculature is fully differentiated. As a model for DMA, the nicb107 mutant was used. In nicb107 mutant embryos, muscle fibres are mechanically intact and able to contract, but neuronal signalling is defective and the fibres are not activated, rendering the embryos immobile. Despite the immobility, distinguished slow and fast muscle fibres developed at the correct location in the axial muscles, helical muscle fibre arrangements were detected and sarcomere architecture was generated. However, in nicb107 mutant embryos the notochord is flatter and the cross-sectional body shape more rounded, also affecting muscle fibre orientation. The stacking of sarcomeres and myofibril arrangement show a less regular pattern. Finally, expression levels of several genes were changed. Together, these changes in expression indicate that muscle growth is not impeded and energy metabolism is not changed by the decrease in muscle activity but that the composition of muscle is altered. In addition, skin stiffness is affected. In conclusion, the lack of muscle fibre activity did not prevent the basal muscle components developing but influenced further organisation and differentiation of these components.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3675-3687
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • mutations affecting development
  • teleost brachydanio-rerio
  • mammalian skeletal-muscle
  • growth-factor-i
  • acetylcholine-receptors
  • neuromuscular activity
  • myostatin expression
  • myogenin gene
  • fast-starts
  • fish


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