Ceinos, R.M., Guillot, R., Kelsh, R.N., Cerdá-Reverter, J.M., Rotllant, J. (2015) Pigment patterns in adult fish result from superimposition of two largely independent pigmentation mechanisms. Pigment cell & melanoma research. 28(2):196-209.
Dorso-ventral pigment pattern differences are the most widespread pigmentary adaptations in vertebrates. In mammals, this pattern is controlled by regulating melanin chemistry in melanocytes using a protein, ASIP. In fish, studies of pigment patterning have focused on stripe formation, identifying a core striping mechanism dependent upon interactions between different pigment cell types. In contrast, mechanisms driving the dorso-ventral countershading pattern have been overlooked. Here, we demonstrate that, in fact, zebrafish utilize two distinct adult pigment patterning mechanisms - an ancient dorso-ventral patterning mechanism, and a more recent striping mechanism based on cell-cell interactions; remarkably, the dorso-ventral patterning mechanism also utilizes ASIP. These two mechanisms function largely independently, with resultant patterns superimposed to give the full pattern. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.