ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-160310-23
The zebrafish (Danio rerio) caudal complex – a model to study vertebral body fusion
Bensimon-Brito, A., Cancela, M. L., Huysseune, A., Witten, P. E.
Date: 2010
Source: Zeitschrift fur angewandte Ichthyologie = Journal of applied ichthyology   26(2): 235-238 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Cancela, Leonor, Huysseune, Ann, Witten, P. Eckhard
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms: none
PubMed: none Full text @ Zeitschrift Angew. Ichthyol. (J. Appl. Ichtyol.)
Impairment of segmentation during embryonic development leads to congenital fusion of vertebrae. Nevertheless, vertebral fusion can also occur during post-embryonic life. Fusion can cause reduction in mobility and may be pathological, but it can also be part of normal development and mechanically required, such as in the teleost caudal skeleton, or in the tetrapod sacrum. Using a series of closely spaced ontogenetic stages of zebrafish, stained for mineralized (Alizarin red) and cartilaginous (Alcian blue) structures, we have characterized all fusions occurring during the formation of the caudal skeleton. The urostyle results from the vertebral fusion of the compound centrum preural1-ural1 [PU1++U1] and ural2 [U2+]. Based on developmental and morphological characters: (i) number of vestigial haemal arches, (ii) occasional presence of a haemal arch rudiment, (iii) occasional individuals with separate centra rudiments or distinct mineralization time points, and (iv) evidence for internal separation, we propose that the urostyle forms as a fusion product of five, and not three vertebral centra, as previously described. The last fusion to occur in development, between the compound centrum [PU1++U1] and U2+, is a relatively slow process that typically occurs in Cypriniformes and Salmoniformes and is therefore considered reliable to monitor the fusion process. The vertebrae adjacent to the urostyle, preurals 2 and 3, are highly susceptible to fusion, and thus inadequate as a negative control to fusion, in contrast to trunk vertebrae, where fusion is never observed. With this we have established the basis for a new model to study vertebral fusion and to unravel cellular and molecular events underlying this process.