Expression and Functional Analysis of pthrp1 and ihha in the Regeneration of Bones in Zebrafish Caudal Fin
The parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP) and Indian Hedgehog (IHH) are two secreted molecules, acting as paracrine factors during embryonic development and post-natal growth of endochondral bones. PTHrP and IHH are essential factors for the regulation of chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation. However, it has previously been shown that PTHrP and IHH are also expressed in the chick and mouse embryos intramembranous bones, which do not form through a cartilage intermediate and in
... ermediate and in which chondrocytes are absent. Similarly, the zebrafish orthologs, pthrp1 and ihha, are also expressed during the regeneration of the intramembranous bones of the fin rays of the zebrafish caudal fin. This surprising observation led us to further analyze the expression and function of pthrp1 and ihha in the regenerating fin rays. Gene expression analysis using in situ hybridization shows that pthrp1 is expressed in a stripe of cells located within the domain of expression of ihha in the newly differentiating osteoblasts in the regenerating fin rays. Also, pthrp1 expression is observed at the level of the joints between the bone segments forming the rays and co-localizes with the expression domain of evx1, a transcription factor that has been implicated in the formation of joints in the caudal fin. Furthermore, RT-PCR analyses show that pthrp2 and the pthrp receptors mRNA (pth1r, pth2r and pth3r) are also present in the fin regenerate. Finally, functional analysis shows that the knockdown of pthrp1 or ihha expression by electroporation of morpholinos induces a delay of the regenerative outgrowth of the fin. These results suggest that pthrp1 and ihha may be involved in the regulation of proliferation and differentiation of chondrocyte-like osteoblasts in the fin rays, playing a role similar to that described in the mammalian growth plate of endochondral bones. In addition, pthrp1 is possibly an important factor involved in the formation and maintenance of joints of the dermal bones of the fin rays.