The neural crest (NC) is a major contributor to the vertebrate craniofacial skeleton, detailed in model organisms through embryological and genetic approaches, most notably in chick and mouse. Despite many similarities between these rather distant species, there are also distinct differences in the contribution of the NC, particularly to the calvariae of the skull. Lack of information about other vertebrate groups precludes an understanding of the evolutionary significance of these differences. Study of zebrafish craniofacial development has contributed substantially to understanding of cartilage and bone formation in teleosts, but there is currently little information on NC contribution to the zebrafish skeleton. Here, we employ a two-transgene system based on Cre recombinase to genetically label NC in the zebrafish. We demonstrate NC contribution to cells in the cranial ganglia and peripheral nervous system known to be NC-derived, as well as to a subset of myocardial cells. The indelible labeling also enables us to determine NC contribution to late-forming bones, including the calvariae. We confirm suspected NC origin of cartilage and bones of the viscerocranium, including cartilages such as the hyosymplectic and its replacement bones (hymandibula and symplectic) and membranous bones such as the opercle. The cleithrum develops at the border of NC and mesoderm, and as an ancestral component of the pectoral girdle was predicted to be a hybrid bone composed of both NC and mesoderm tissues. However, we find no evidence of a NC contribution to the cleithrum. Similarly, in the vault of the skull, the parietal bones and the caudal portion of the frontal bones show no evidence of NC contribution. We also determine a NC origin for caudal fin lepidotrichia; the presumption is that these are derived from trunk NC, demonstrating that these cells have the ability to form bone during normal vertebrate development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)