The apoptotic regulator Nrz controls cytoskeletal dynamics via the regulation of Ca2+ trafficking in the zebrafish blastula

Dev Cell. 2011 May 17;20(5):663-76. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2011.03.016.


Bcl-2 family members are key regulators of apoptosis. Their involvement in other cellular processes has been so far overlooked. We have studied the role of the Bcl-2 homolog Nrz in the developing zebrafish. Nrz was found to be localized to the yolk syncytial layer, a region containing numerous mitochondria and ER membranes. Nrz knockdown resulted in developmental arrest before gastrulation, due to free Ca(2+) increase in the yolk cell, activating myosin light chain kinase, which led to premature contraction of actin-myosin cables in the margin and separation of the blastomeres from the yolk cell. In the yolk syncytial layer, Nrz appears to prevent the release of Ca(2+) from the endoplasmic reticulum by directly interacting with the IP3R1 Ca(2+) channel. Thus, the Bcl-2 family may participate in early development, not only by controlling apoptosis but also by acting on cytoskeletal dynamics and cell movements via Ca(2+) fluxes inside the embryo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Blastula / cytology
  • Blastula / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • bcl2l10 protein, zebrafish
  • Calcium