Eisen, J.S. (1991) Motoneuronal development in the embryonic zebrafish. Development (Cambridge, England). (Suppl.) 2:141-147.
To learn how neurons find their appropriate targets, we have studied two populations of motoneurons in the embryonic zebrafish: primary motoneurons, individually identified cells whose growth cones pioneer the first nerve pathways in the muscle, and secondary motoneurons, cells which develop later and whose growth cones apparently extend along the axons of the primary motoneurons. Transplantation studies of single, identified primary motoneurons suggest that commitment of these cells to innervate their cell-specific muscle territories may be a multistep process in which they are first committed to be motoneurons and are later committed to extend axons along specific pathways. Ablation studies suggest that interactions among the primary motoneurons are unlikely to be necessary for proper pathfinding or commitment. However, interactions with the primary motoneurons may be important for proper development of the secondary motoneurons.