Doctor of Philosophy, Harvard University (2016)
Bachelor of Arts, Barnard College Columbia University (2010)
Carlos Bustamante, Postdoctoral Research Mentor
Using the zebrafish to understand tendon development and repair.
Methods in cell biology
2017; 138: 299–320
Tendons are important components of our musculoskeletal system. Injuries to these tissues are very common, resulting from occupational-related injuries, sports-related trauma, and age-related degeneration. Unfortunately, there are few treatment options, and current therapies rarely restore injured tendons to their original function. An improved understanding of the pathways regulating their development and repair would have significant impact in stimulating the formulation of regenerative-based approaches for tendon injury. The zebrafish provides an ideal system in which to perform genetic and chemical screens to identify new pathways involved in tendon biology. Until recently, there had been few descriptions of tendons and ligaments in the zebrafish and their similarity to mammalian tendon tissues. In this chapter, we describe the development of the zebrafish tendon and ligament tissues in the context of their gene expression, structure, and interactions with neighboring musculoskeletal tissues. We highlight the similarities with tendon development in higher vertebrates, showing that the craniofacial tendons and ligaments in zebrafish morphologically, molecularly, and structurally resemble mammalian tendons and ligaments from embryonic to adult stages. We detail methods for fluorescent in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry as an assay to examine morphological changes in the zebrafish musculoskeleton. Staining assays such as these could provide the foundation for screen-based approaches to identify new regulators of tendon development, morphogenesis, and repair. These discoveries would provide new targets and pathways to study in the context of regenerative medicine-based approaches to improve tendon healing.
View details for DOI 10.1016/bs.mcb.2016.10.003
View details for PubMedID 28129848
The development of zebrafish tendon and ligament progenitors
2014; 141 (10): 2035-2045
Despite the importance of tendons and ligaments for transmitting movement and providing stability to the musculoskeletal system, their development is considerably less well understood than that of the tissues they serve to connect. Zebrafish have been widely used to address questions in muscle and skeletal development, yet few studies describe their tendon and ligament tissues. We have analyzed in zebrafish the expression of several genes known to be enriched in mammalian tendons and ligaments, including scleraxis (scx), collagen 1a2 (col1a2) and tenomodulin (tnmd), or in the tendon-like myosepta of the zebrafish (xirp2a). Co-expression studies with muscle and cartilage markers demonstrate the presence of scxa, col1a2 and tnmd at sites between the developing muscle and cartilage, and xirp2a at the myotendinous junctions. We determined that the zebrafish craniofacial tendon and ligament progenitors are neural crest derived, as in mammals. Cranial and fin tendon progenitors can be induced in the absence of differentiated muscle or cartilage, although neighboring muscle and cartilage are required for tendon cell maintenance and organization, respectively. By contrast, myoseptal scxa expression requires muscle for its initiation. Together, these data suggest a conserved role for muscle in tendon development. Based on the similarities in gene expression, morphology, collagen ultrastructural arrangement and developmental regulation with that of mammalian tendons, we conclude that the zebrafish tendon populations are homologous to their force-transmitting counterparts in higher vertebrates. Within this context, the zebrafish model can be used to provide new avenues for studying tendon biology in a vertebrate genetic system.
View details for DOI 10.1242/dev.104067
View details for Web of Science ID 000336126400006
View details for PubMedID 24803652
Hoxa-5 acts in segmented somites to regulate cervical vertebral morphology
MECHANISMS OF DEVELOPMENT
2013; 130 (4-5): 226-240
The vertebrate axial skeleton (vertebral column and ribs) is derived from embryonic structures called somites. Mechanisms of somite formation and patterning are largely conserved along the length of the body axis, but segments acquire different morphologies in part through the action of Hox transcription factors. Although Hox genes' roles in axial skeletal patterning have been extensively characterized, it is still not well understood how they interact with somite patterning pathways to regulate different vertebral morphologies. Here, we investigated the role of Hoxa-5 in after somite segmentation in chick. Hoxa-5 mRNA is expressed in posterior cervical somites, and within them is restricted mainly to a sub-domain of lateral sclerotome. RNAi-based knockdown leads to cartilage defects in lateral vertebral elements (rib homologous structures) whose morphologies vary within and outside of the Hoxa-5 expression domain. Both knockdown and misexpression suggest that Hoxa-5 acts via negative regulation of Sox-9. Further, Hoxa-5 misexpression suggests that spatial and/or temporal restriction of Hoxa-5 expression is necessary for proper vertebral morphology. Finally, the restriction of Hoxa-5 expression to lateral sclerotome, which we hypothesize is important for its patterning function, involves regulation by signaling pathways that pattern somites, Fgf-8 and Shh.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.mod.2013.02.002
View details for Web of Science ID 000318532300002
View details for PubMedID 23462683