Bcl-wav and the mitochondrial calcium uniporter drive gastrula morphogenesis in zebrafish

Julien Prudent, Nikolay Popgeorgiev, Benjamin Bonneau, Julien Thibaut, Rudy Gadet, Jonathan Lopez, Philippe Gonzalo, Ruth Rimokh, Stephen Manon, Corinne Houart, Philippe Herbomel, Abdel Aouacheria, Germain Gillet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Bcl-2 proteins are acknowledged as key regulators of programmed cell death. However, increasing data suggest additional roles, including regulation of the cell cycle, metabolism and cytoskeletal dynamics. Here we report the discovery and characterization of a new Bcl-2-related multidomain apoptosis accelerator, Bcl-wav, found in fish and frogs. Genetic and molecular studies in zebrafish indicate that Bcl-wav and the recently identified mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) contribute to the formation of the notochord axis by controlling blastomere convergence and extension movements during gastrulation. Furthermore, we found that Bcl-wav controls intracellular Ca 2+ trafficking by acting on the mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel, and possibly on MCU, with direct consequences on actin microfilament dynamics and blastomere migration guidance. Thus, from an evolutionary point of view, the original function of Bcl-2 proteins might have been to contribute in controlling the global positioning system of blastomeres during gastrulation, a critical step in metazoan development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2330
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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