Transcriptomic profiling of mTOR and ryanodine receptor signaling molecules in developing zebrafish in the absence and presence of PCB 95

Daniel F. Frank, Galen W. Miller, Richard E Connon, Juergen Geist, Pamela J Lein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) and ryanodine receptor (RyR) signaling pathways regulate fundamental processes of neurodevelopment, and genetic mutations within these pathways have been linked to neurodevelopmental disorders. While previous studies have established that these signaling molecules are expressed in developing zebrafish, a detailed characterization of the ontogenetic profile of these signaling molecules is lacking. Thus, we evaluated the spatiotemporal expression of key transcripts in mTOR and RyR signaling pathways in wildtype zebrafish at 24, 72 and 120 hours post fertilization (hpf).We further determined whether transcriptional profiles of a subset of genes in both pathways were altered by exposure to PCB 95 (2,2',3,5',6-pentachlorobiphenyl), a pervasive environmental contaminant known to cause developmental neurotoxicity in mammalian systems via RyR-dependent mechanisms. Quantitative PCR revealed that transcription generally increased across development. Genes in the signaling pathway upstream of the mTORC1 complex, and the RyR-paralogs, ryr2a and ryr3, were robustly upregulated, and in situ hybridization of ryr3 coincided with a transcriptional shift from muscle to neuronal tissue after 24 hpf. Static waterborne exposure to PCB 95 beginning at 6 hpf significantly altered transcription of genes in both pathways. These changes were concentration- and time-dependent, and included downregulation of rptor, a member of the mTORC1 complex, at both 72 and 120 hpf, and increased transcript levels of the RyR paralog ryr2b and downstream target of RyR signaling, Wingless-type 2ba (wnt2ba) at 72 hpf. The detailed transcriptomic profiling of key genes within these two signaling pathways provides a baseline for identifying other environmental factors that modify normal spatiotemporal expression patterns of mTOR and RyR signaling pathways in the developing zebrafish, as illustrated here for PCB 95.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4106
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • MTOR
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Ryanodine receptor
  • Transcriptomic profiling
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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