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Int J Biol Sci 2017; 13(8):1051-1066. doi:10.7150/ijbs.19203

Research Paper

Alkbh4 and Atrn Act Maternally to Regulate Zebrafish Epiboly

Qingrui Sun*, Xingfeng Liu*, Bo Gong, Di Wu, Anming Meng, Shunji Jia

State Key Laboratory of Membrane biology, Tsinghua-Peking Center for Life Sciences, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.


During embryonic gastrulation, coordinated cell movements occur to bring cells to their correct position. Among them, epiboly produces the first distinct morphological changes, which is essential for the early development of zebrafish. Despite its fundamental importance, little is known to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms. By generating maternal mutant lines with CRISPR/Cas9 technology and using morpholino knockdown strategy, we showed that maternal Alkbh4 depletion leads to severe epiboly defects in zebrafish. Immunofluorescence assays revealed that Alkbh4 promotes zebrafish embryonic epiboly through regulating actomyosin contractile ring formation, which is composed of Actin and non-muscular myosin II (NMII). To further investigate this process, yeast two hybridization assay was performed and Atrn was identified as a binding partner of Alkbh4. Combining with the functional results of Alkbh4, we found that maternal Atrn plays a similar role in zebrafish embryonic morphogenesis by regulating actomyosin formation. On the molecular level, our data revealed that Atrn prefers to interact with the active form of Alkbh4 and functions together with it to regulate the demethylation of Actin, the actomyosin formation, and subsequently the embryonic epiboly.

Keywords: alkbh4, atrn, epiboly, actomyosin, Actin, NMII

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Sun Q, Liu X, Gong B, Wu D, Meng A, Jia S. Alkbh4 and Atrn Act Maternally to Regulate Zebrafish Epiboly. Int J Biol Sci 2017; 13(8):1051-1066. doi:10.7150/ijbs.19203. Available from