Science China Life Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 11, pp 1352–1368 | Cite as

Identification of Ca2+ signaling components in neural stem/progenitor cells during differentiation into neurons and glia in intact and dissociated zebrafish neurospheres

  • Man Kit Tse
  • Ting Shing Hung
  • Ching Man Chan
  • Tiffany Wong
  • Mike Dorothea
  • Catherine Leclerc
  • Marc Moreau
  • Andrew L. Miller
  • Sarah E. WebbEmail author
Research Paper


The development of the CNS in vertebrate embryos involves the generation of different sub-types of neurons and glia in a complex but highly-ordered spatio-temporal manner. Zebrafish are commonly used for exploring the development, plasticity and regeneration of the CNS, and the recent development of reliable protocols for isolating and culturing neural stem/progenitor cells (NSCs/NPCs) from the brain of adult fish now enables the exploration of mechanisms underlying the induction/specification/differentiation of these cells. Here, we refined a protocol to generate proliferating and differentiating neurospheres from the entire brain of adult zebrafish. We demonstrated via RT-qPCR that some isoforms of ip3r, ryr and stim are upregulated/downregulated significantly in differentiating neurospheres, and via immunolabelling that 1,4,5-inositol trisphosphate receptor (IP3R) type-1 and ryanodine receptor (RyR) type-2 are differentially expressed in cells with neuron- or radial glial-like properties. Furthermore, ATP but not caffeine (IP3R and RyR agonists, respectively), induced the generation of Ca2+ transients in cells exhibiting neuron- or glial-like morphology. These results indicate the differential expression of components of the Ca2+-signaling toolkit in proliferating and differentiating cells. Thus, given the complexity of the intact vertebrate brain, neurospheres might be a useful system for exploring neurodegenerative disease diagnosis protocols and drug development using Ca2+ signaling as a read-out.


Ca2+ signaling neurospheres zebrafish neural stem/progenitor cells differentiation IP3 receptors ryanodine receptors STIM and Orai 


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We would like to thank Dr. Jeffrey J. Kelu (Division of Life Science, HKUST) for helping us with the statistics. This work was supported by the ANR/RGC Joint Research Scheme Award (A-HKUST601/13), the HK RGC General Research Fund awards (662113, 16101714, 16100115) and Funding from the HKITC (ITCPD/17-9).


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Man Kit Tse
    • 1
  • Ting Shing Hung
    • 1
  • Ching Man Chan
    • 1
  • Tiffany Wong
    • 1
  • Mike Dorothea
    • 1
  • Catherine Leclerc
    • 2
  • Marc Moreau
    • 2
  • Andrew L. Miller
    • 1
  • Sarah E. Webb
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Life Science & State Key Laboratory of Molecular NeuroscienceHKUSTHong KongChina
  2. 2.Centre de Biologie du Développement (CBD), Centre de Biologie Intégrative (CBI)Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UPSToulouseFrance

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