Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 423–434 | Cite as

Four-and-a-half LIM domains protein 2 (FHL2) is associated with the development of craniofacial musculature in the teleost fish Sparus aurata

  • Marta S. Rafael
  • Vincent LaizéEmail author
  • Anabela Bensimon-Brito
  • Ricardo B. Leite
  • Roland Schüle
  • M. Leonor Cancela
Research Article


Four-and-a-half LIM domains protein 2 (FHL2) is involved in major cellular mechanisms such as regulation of gene transcription and cytoskeleton modulation, participating in physiological control of cardiogenesis and osteogenesis. Knowledge on underlying mechanisms is, however, limited. We present here new data on FHL2 protein and its role during vertebrate development using a marine teleost fish, the gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata L.). In silico comparison of vertebrate protein sequences and prediction of LIM domain three-dimensional structure revealed a high degree of conservation, suggesting a conserved function throughout evolution. Determination of sites and levels of FHL2 gene expression in seabream indicated a central role for FHL2 in the development of heart and craniofacial musculature, and a potential role in tissue calcification. Our data confirmed the key role of FHL2 protein during vertebrate development and gave new insights into its particular involvement in craniofacial muscle development and specificity for slow fibers.


Four-and-a-half LIM domains protein 2, FHL2 Teleost fish Gene expression patterns Muscle development 3D protein structure 



Coding sequence


Days post fertilization


Expressed sequence tag


Four-and-a-half LIM domains protein 2


Hours post fertilization


Lin11, Isl-1 and Mec-3 proteins


Whole genome shotgun



This work was partially funded by grant GOCE-CT-2004-505403 (Marine Genomics Europe, FICEL project) from the European Commission under the 6th Framework Program. MS Rafael, A Bensimon-Brito and RB Leite are the recipients of doctoral fellowships (SFRH/BD/22695/2005, SFRH/BD/40573/2007 and SFRH/BD/30112/2006, respectively) from the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT). Authors are grateful to Pedro Pousão-Ferreira and Luísa Dâmaso Rodrigues (Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e das Pescas—INIAP–IPIMAR/CRIPSul, Olhão, Portugal) and Dominique Schuchardt and Marisol Izquierdo (Grupo de Investigación en Acuicultura, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain) for seabream eggs and larvae, respectively. Authors also thank P. Eckhard Witten (Ghent University) for helpful discussion.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary Fig. S1 (JPG 200 kb)
18_2011_754_MOESM2_ESM.doc (54 kb)
Supplementary Fig. S2 (DOC 54 kb)
18_2011_754_MOESM3_ESM.doc (58 kb)
Supplementary Fig. S3. (DOC 57 kb)
18_2011_754_MOESM4_ESM.doc (108 kb)
Fig. S4 Taxonomic tree of the 38 species included in FHL2 protein analysis, according to Taxonomy Browser at NCBI; * indicates species with evidence of a second gene. (DOC 107 kb)
18_2011_754_MOESM5_ESM.doc (40 kb)
Supplementary Fig. S5 (DOC 39 kb)
18_2011_754_MOESM6_ESM.jpg (661 kb)
Supplementary Fig. S6 (JPG 661 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta S. Rafael
    • 1
  • Vincent Laizé
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anabela Bensimon-Brito
    • 1
  • Ricardo B. Leite
    • 1
  • Roland Schüle
    • 2
  • M. Leonor Cancela
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR)University of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Urology/Women’s Hospital and Center for Clinical ResearchUniversity of Freiburg Medical CenterFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine (DCBM)University of AlgarveFaroPortugal

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