Kinesin family member 6 (kif6) is necessary for spine development in zebrafish

Jillian G. Buchan, Ryan S. Gray, John M. Gansner, David M. Alvarado, Lydia Burgert, Jonathan D. Gitlin, Christina A. Gurnett, Matthew I. Goldsmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Background: Idiopathic scoliosis is a form of spinal deformity that affects 2-3% of children and results in curvature of the spine without structural defects of the vertebral units. The pathogenesis of idiopathic scoliosis remains poorly understood, in part due to the lack of a relevant animal model. Results: We performed a forward mutagenesis screen in zebrafish to identify new models for idiopathic scoliosis. We isolated a recessive zebrafish mutant, called skolios, which develops isolated spinal curvature that arises independent of vertebral malformations. Using meiotic mapping and whole genome sequencing, we identified a nonsense mutation in kinesin family member 6 (kif6gw326) unique to skolios mutants. Three additional kif6 frameshift alleles (gw327, gw328, gw329) were generated with transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs). Zebrafish homozygous or compound heterozygous for kif6 frameshift mutations developed a scoliosis phenotype indistinguishable from skolios mutants, confirming that skolios is caused by the loss of kif6. Although kif6 may play a role in cilia, no evidence for cilia dysfunction was seen in kif6gw326 mutants. Conclusions: Overall, these findings demonstrate a novel role for kif6 in spinal development and identify a new candidate gene for human idiopathic scoliosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1646-1657
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Danio rerio
  • Kinesin
  • Scoliosis


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