Masai, I., Stemple, D.L., Okamoto, H., and Wilson, S.W. (2000) Midline signals regulate retinal neurogenesis in zebrafish. Neuron. 27(2):251-263.
In zebrafish, neuronal differentiation progresses across the retina in a pattern that is reminiscent of the neurogenic wave that sweeps across the developing eye in Drosophila. We show that expression of a zebrafish homolog of Drosophila atonal, ath5, sweeps across the eye predicting the wave of neuronal differentiation. By analyzing the regulation of ath5 expression, we have elucidated the mechanisms that regulate initiation and spread of neurogenesis in the retina. ath5 expression is lost in Nodal pathway mutant embryos lacking axial tissues that include the prechordal plate. A likely role for axial tissue is to induce optic stalk cells that subsequently regulate ath5 expression. Our results suggest that a series of inductive events, initiated from the prechordal plate and progressing from the optic stalks, regulates the spread of neuronal differentiation across the zebrafish retina.