RhoA prevents apoptosis during zebrafish embryogenesis through activation of Mek/Erk pathway

S. Zhu, V. Korzh, Z. Gong, B. C. Low

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


RhoA small GTPase, as a key regulator for actin cytoskeletal rearrangement, plays pivotal roles during morphogenesis, cytokinesis, phagocytosis and cell migration, but little is known about its signaling mechanism that controls cell survival in vivo. Using zebrafish as a model, we show that non-overlapping antisense morpholinos that block either translation or splicing of rhoA lead to extensive apoptosis during embryogenesis, resulting in overall reduction of body size and body length. These defects are associated with reduced activation of growth-promoting Erk and decreased expression of anti-apoptotic bcl-2. Moreover, ectopic expression of rhoA, Mek or BCL-2 mRNA rescues such phenotypes. Consistently, combined suppression of RhoA and Mek/Erk or Bcl-2 pathways by sub-optimal dose of rhoA morpholino and pharmacological inhibitors for either Mek (U0126) or Bcl-2 (HA 14-1) can induce developmental abnormalities and enhanced apoptosis, similar to those caused by effective RhoA knockdown. Furthermore, U0126 abrogates the rescue by RhoA and MEK but not BCL-2. In contrast, HA 14-1 effectively abolishes all functional rescues by RhoA, MEK or BCL-2, supporting that RhoA prevents apoptosis by activation of Mek/Erk pathway and requiring Bcl-2. These findings reveal an important genetic and functional relationship between RhoA with Mek/Erk and Bcl-2 for cell survival control during embryogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1580-1589
Number of pages10
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 6 2008


  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2
  • Embryogenesis
  • Mek/Erk
  • RhoA
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'RhoA prevents apoptosis during zebrafish embryogenesis through activation of Mek/Erk pathway'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this