Kimmel, C.B., Hatta, K., and Metcalfe, W.K. (1990) Early axonal contacts during development of an identified dendrite in the brain of the zebrafish. Neuron. 4:535-545.
We have identified the initial synaptic contacts made onto the Mauthner (M) cell, an identified neuron that arises during early development of the zebrafish hindbrain. The contacts are made by a small bundle of pioneering trigeminal sensory axons onto the M cell soma before it forms dendrites. The sensory bundle is then partially enveloped by the M cell. The lateral dendrite appears at about the site of the contact, and eventually the trigeminal inputs are shifted to its trunk. As the dendrite elongates, other sensory contacts are made on its distal regions, sequentially from the acoustico-vestibular nerve and the lateral line nerves. To learn whether the earliest inputs induce the initial outgrowth of the M cell dendrite, we ablated the trigeminal neurons by laser irradiation before they contacted the M cell. Morphogenesis of the M cell, including its dendrite, appeared normal.