The ERRalpha orphan nuclear receptor controls morphogenetic movements during zebrafish gastrulation

Dev Biol. 2005 May 1;281(1):102-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.02.018.


Gastrulation is a process involving cellular commitment and movements whereby the three fundamental germ layers are established in vertebrates embryos. Estrogen Receptor-Related (ERR) alpha is a nuclear receptor displaying high sequence identity to the Estrogen Receptors (ERs). However, ERRalpha is unable to bind and to be regulated by estrogens or any natural ligand to date. Whereas recent studies have suggested roles for ERRalpha in bone and adipose tissue metabolism in the mouse, little is known about its roles during embryonic development. In zebrafish embryos, ERRalpha is expressed from the beginning of gastrulation at the margin of the blastoderm that represents the presumptive mesendoderm. Using loss of function (morpholinos or a dominant-negative version of the protein) and gain of function (mRNA injection) strategies, we show here that ERRalpha is involved in epiboly and convergent-extension (CE) processes in the zebrafish. Altogether, these results propose ERRalpha as a new regulator of morphogenetic movement during gastrulation, independently of cell fate determination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrula / physiology*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mice
  • Morphogenesis / physiology*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / genetics
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / metabolism
  • Random Allocation
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / genetics
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism*


  • ERRalpha estrogen-related receptor
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Zebrafish Proteins