Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The zebrafish prospero homolog prox1 is required for mechanosensory hair cell differentiation and functionality in the lateral line

Anna Pistocchi1, Carmen G Feijóo23, Pablo Cabrera2, Eduardo J Villablanca4, Miguel L Allende2* and Franco Cotelli1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biology, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 26, 20133, Milan, Italy

2 Center for Genomics of the Cell, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Casilla 653, Santiago, Chile

3 Departamento de Ciencias Biologicas, Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile

4 International PhD Program in Molecular Medicine, Università "Vita-Salute" S Raffaele, Milan, Italy

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BMC Developmental Biology 2009, 9:58  doi:10.1186/1471-213X-9-58

Published: 30 November 2009



The lateral line system in zebrafish is composed of a series of organs called neuromasts, which are distributed over the body surface. Neuromasts contain clusters of hair cells, surrounded by accessory cells.


In this report we describe zebrafish prox1 mRNA expression in the migrating primordium and in the neuromasts of the posterior lateral line. Furthermore, using an antibody against Prox1 we characterize expression of the protein in different cell types within neuromasts, and we show distribution among the supporting cells and hair cells.


Functional analysis using antisense morpholinos indicates that prox1 activity is crucial for the hair cells to differentiate properly and acquire functionality, while having no role in development of other cell types in neuromasts.