Animals; Animals, Genetically Modified; Bone Development; Bone and Bones/anatomy & histology; Bone and Bones/embryology
Animals; Animals, Genetically Modified; Bone Development; Bone and Bones/anatomy & histology; Bone and Bones/embryology; Developmental Biology/methods*; Embryo, Nonmammalian; Green Fluorescent Proteins/metabolism; Morphogenesis; Neural Crest/metabolism; Osteoblasts/metabolism; Osteogenesis; Skull/anatomy & histology*; Skull/embryology*; Skull/growth & development*; Time Factors; Transgenes; Zebrafish
The morphologies of individual bones are crucial for their functions within the skeleton, and vary markedly during evolution. Recent studies have begun to reveal the detailed molecular genetic pathways that underlie skeletal morphogenesis. On the other hand, understanding of the process of morphogenesis itself has not kept pace with the molecular work. We examined, through an extended period of development in zebrafish, how a prominent craniofacial bone, the opercle (Op), attains its adult morphology. Using high-resolution confocal imaging of the vitally stained Op in live larvae, we show that the bone initially appears as a simple linear spicule, or spur, with a characteristic position and orientation, and lined by osteoblasts that we visualize by transgenic labeling. The Op then undergoes a stereotyped sequence of shape transitions, most notably during the larval period occurring through three weeks postfertilization. New shapes arise, and the bone grows in size, as a consequence of anisotropic addition of new mineralized bone matrix along specific regions of the pre-existing bone surfaces. We find that two modes of matrix addition, spurs and veils, are primarily associated with change in shape, whereas a third mode, incremental banding, largely accounts for growth in size. Furthermore, morphometric analyses show that shape development and growth follow different trajectories, suggesting separate control of bone shape and size. New osteoblast arrangements are associated with new patterns of matrix outgrowth, and we propose that fine developmental regulation of osteoblast position is a critical determinant of the spatiotemporal pattern of morphogenesis.