Image of the Day: Not All Bad

In zebrafish, some amount of reactive oxygen species is required for normal development.

Jul 16, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra
The eye of a zebrafish embryo with an enlarged ganglion cell layer (green)
daniel suter/purdue uNiversity

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels are known to rise in times of stress or disease, leading to cellular damage, even going so far as cancer. However, ROS are needed to some extent for the formation of the nervous system in zebrafish, according to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience on June 27.

In two separate experiments, researchers used a drug and CRISPR to shut down an enzyme known to produce ROS in zebrafish embryos. With both methods, they found an absence of the enzyme, meaning fewer ROS, led to defective visual signaling and other development. 

“We think there’s an ideal intermediate concentration [of ROS], but neither extreme is good,” coauthor Daniel Suter, a professor of biological sciences at Purdue University, says in a statement.

C.J. Weaver et al., “nox2/cybb deficiency affects zebrafish retinotectal connectivity,” J Neurosci, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1483-16.2018, 2018.