Open Access Short Report

The zebrafish mutants for the V-ATPase subunits d, ac45, E, H and c and their variable pigment dilution phenotype

Jose L Ramos-Balderas, Samantha Carrillo-Rosas, Aida Guzman, Rosa E Navarro and Ernesto Maldonado*

Author Affiliations

Departamento de Biología Celular y del Desarrollo, Instituto de Fisiología Celular, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior, Ciudad Universitaria, México, D F 04510, Mexico

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BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:39  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-39

Published: 2 February 2013



The V-ATPase is a proton pump that creates an acidic medium, necessary for lysosome function and vesicular traffic. It is also essential for several developmental processes. Many enzymes, like the V-ATPase, are assemblies of multiple subunits, in which each one performs a specific function required to achieve full activity. In the zebrafish V-ATPase 15 different subunits form this multimeric complex and mutations in any of these subunits induce hypopigmentation or pigment dilution phenotype. We have previously found variability in the pigment dilution phenotype among five of the V-ATPase zebrafish mutants. This work presents additional information about such differences and is an update from a previous report.


We describe the variable phenotype severity observed among zebrafish V-ATPase pigment dilution mutants studying mRNA expression levels from their corresponding genes. At the same time we carried out phylogenetic analysis for this genes.


Based in the similarities between different pigment dilution mutants we suggest that there is an essential role for V-ATPases in melanosome biogenesis and melanocyte survival. Neither variable expression levels for the different V-ATPase subunits studied here or the presence of duplicated genes seems to account for the variable phenotype severity from this group of mutants. We believe there are some similarities between the pigment dilution phenotype from zebrafish V-ATPase insertional mutants and pigment mutants obtained in a chemical screening (“Tubingen pigmentation mutants”). As for some of these “Tubingen mutants” the mutated gene has not been found we suggest that mutations in V-ATPase genes may be inducing their defects.

Zebrafish; Insertional mutants; V-ATPase Subunits; Pigment dilution