Cardiac development in vertebrates is a finely tuned process regulated by a set of conserved signaling pathways. Perturbations of these processes are often associated with congenital cardiac malformations. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor α (PDGFRα) is a highly conserved tyrosine kinase receptor, which is essential for development and organogenesis. Disruption of Pdgfrα function in murine models are embryonic lethal due to severe cardiovascular defects, suggesting a role in cardiac development, thus necessitating the use of alternative models to explore its precise function. In this study, we generated a zebrafish pdgfra mutant line by gene trapping, in which the Pdgfra protein is truncated and fused with mRFP (Pdgfra-mRFP). Our results demonstrate that pdgfra mutants have defects in cardiac morphology as a result of abnormal fusion of myocardial precursors. Expression analysis of the developing heart at later stages suggested that Pdgfra-mRFP is expressed in the endocardium. Further examination of the endocardium in pdgfra mutants revealed defective endocardial migration to the midline, where cardiac fusion eventually occurs. Together, our data suggests that pdgfra is required for proper medial migration of both endocardial and myocardial precursors, an essential step required for cardiac assembly and development.
- Received August 11, 2016.
- Accepted January 30, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
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