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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 479135, 15 pages
Research Article

Obscurin Depletion Impairs Organization of Skeletal Muscle in Developing Zebrafish Embryos

1Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
2Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

Received 2 May 2011; Revised 10 July 2011; Accepted 27 July 2011

Academic Editor: Robert J. Bloch

Copyright © 2011 Maide Ö. Raeker and Mark W. Russell. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


During development, skeletal myoblasts differentiate into myocytes and skeletal myotubes with mature contractile structures that are precisely oriented with respect to surrounding cells and tissues. Establishment of this highly ordered structure requires reciprocal interactions between the differentiating myocytes and the surrounding extracellular matrix to form correctly positioned and well-organized attachments from the skeletal muscle to the bony skeleton. Using the developing zebrafish embryo as a model, we examined the relationship between new myofibril assembly and the organization of the membrane domains involved in cell-extracellular matrix interactions. We determined that depletion of obscurin, a giant muscle protein, resulted in irregular cell morphology and disturbed extracellular matrix organization during skeletal muscle development. The resulting impairment of myocyte organization was associated with disturbance of the internal architecture of the myocyte suggesting that obscurin participates in organizing the internal structure of the myocyte and translating those structural cues to surrounding cells and tissues.