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Hatching gland development and hatching in zebrafish embryos: A role for zinc and its transporters Zip10 and Znt1a

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020

King's Authors


Zinc transporters of the ZIP (Slc39, importers) and ZnT (Slc30, exporters) protein families have evolutionary conserved roles in biology. The aim of the present study was to explore the role of zinc, and zinc transporters Zip10 and Znt1a in zebrafish hatching gland development and larval hatching. In the study, knockdown of genes for Zip10 and Znt1a in zebrafish embryos was achieved using morpholino-modified oligonucleotides. A partial loss-of-function Znt1a mutant (Znt1asa17) allowed comparison with the Znt1a morphant. Free Zn2+ in embryos and apoptosis were investigated using fluorescent dyes whereas gene expression was investigated by whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH). The results showed high levels of free Zn2+ in the hatching gland cells (HGC) along with abundant expression of zip10 and znt1a in normal embryo. Knockdown of zip10 reduced free Zn2+ in HGC, ceased their normal developmental apoptosis, and resulted in displacement and later disappearance of hatching glands and hatching enzymes he1a and catL1b, and inability to hatch. Conversely, knockdown of znt1a or the Znt1asa17 mutation accelerated hatching and coincided with high expression of hatching enzymes and free Zn2+ in the HGC. Thus, Zip10 and free Zn2+ in the HGC are required both for their development and function. This study also demonstrated the opposite functions of the two zinc transporters, ZIP10 and ZnT1 as well as shedding light on the role of Zn2+ in regulation of the human hatching enzyme homologue, ovastacin, which is activated by zinc and cleaves the zona pellucida protein, ZP2, to prevent polyspermy.

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