Phosphatidylserine receptor is required for the engulfment of dead apoptotic cells and for normal embryonic development in zebrafish

Jiann Ruey Hong, Gen Hwa Lin, Cliff Ji Fan Lin, Wan Ping Wang, Chien Chung Lee, Tai Lang Lin, Jen Leih Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


During development, the role of the phosphatidylserine receptor (PSR) in the removal of apoptotic cells that have died is poorly understood. We have investigated this role of PSR in developing zebrafish. Programmed cell death began during the shield stage, with dead cells being engulfed by a neighboring cell that showed a normal-looking nucleus and the nuclear condensation multi-micronuclei of an apoptotic cell. The zebrafish PSR engulfing receptor was cloned (zfpsr), and its nucleotide sequence was compared with corresponding sequences in Drosophila melanogaster (76% identity), human (74%), mouse (72%) and Caenorhabditis elegans (60%). The PSR receptor contained a jmjC domain (residues 143-206) that is a member of the cupin metalloenzyme superfamily, but in this case serves an as yet unknown function(s), psr knockdown by a PSR morpholino oligonucleotide led to accumulation of a large number of dead apoptotic cells in whole early embryo. These cells interfered with embryonic cell migration. In addition, normal development of the somite, brain, heart and notochord was sequentially disrupted up to 24 hours post-fertilization. Development could be rescued in defective embryos by injecting psr mRNA. These results are consistent with a PSR-dependent system in zebrafish embryos that engulfs apoptotic cells mediated by PSR-phagocytes during development, with the system assuming an important role in the normal development of tissues such as the brain, heart, notochord and somite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5417-5427
Number of pages11
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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