Research Summary: Lineage Relationship of Direct-Developing Melanocytes and Melanocyte Stem Cells in the Zebrafish


Previous research in zebrafish has demonstrated that embryonic and larval regeneration melanocytes are derived from separate lineages. The embryonic melanocytes that establish the larval pigment pattern do not require regulative melanocyte stem cell (MSC) precursors, and are termed direct-developing melanocytes. In contrast, the larval regeneration melanocytes that restore the pigment pattern after ablation develop from MSC precursors. Here, we explore whether embryonic melanocytes and MSCs share bipotent progenitors. Furthermore, we explore when fate segregation of embryonic melanocytes and MSCs occurs in zebrafish development. In order to achieve this, we develop and apply a novel lineage tracing method. We first demonstrate that Tol2-mediated genomic integration of reporter constructs from plasmids injected at the 1ā€“2 cell stage occurs most frequently after the midblastula transition but prior to shield stage, between 3 and 6 hours post-fertilization. This previously uncharacterized timing of Tol2-mediated genomic integration establishes Tol2-mediated transposition as a means for conducting lineage tracing in zebrafish. Combining the Tol2-mediated lineage tracing strategy with a melanocyte regeneration assay previously developed in our lab, we find that embryonic melanocytes and larval regeneration melanocytes are derived from progenitors that contribute to both lineages. We estimate 50ā€“60 such bipotent melanogenic progenitors to be present in the shield-stage embryo. Furthermore, our examination of direct-developing and MSC-restricted lineages suggests that these are segregated from bipotent precursors after the shield stage, but prior to the end of convergence and extension. Following this early fate segregation, we estimate approximately 100 embryonic melanocyte and 90 MSC-restricted lineages are generated to establish or regenerate the zebrafish larval pigment pattern, respectively. Thus, the dual strategies of direct-development and MSC-derived development are established in the early gastrula, via fate segregation of the two lineages.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 16-June-2011

Author(s): Tryon R., Higdon C., Johnson S.


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