Beattie, C.E. and Eisen, J.S. (1997) Notochord alters the permissiveness of myotome for pathfinding by an identified motoneuron in embryonic zebrafish. Development (Cambridge, England). 124(3):713-720.
During zebrafish development, identified motoneurons innervate cell-specific regions of each trunk myotome. One motoneuron, CaP, extends an axon along the medial surface of the ventral myotome. To learn how this pathway is established during development, the CaP axon was used as an assay to ask whether other regions of the myotome were permissive for normal CaP pathfinding. Native myotomes were replaced with donor myotomes in normal or reversed dorsoventral orientations and CaP pathfinding was assayed. Ventral myotomes were permissive for CaP axons, even when they were taken from older embryos, suggesting that the CaP pathway remained present on ventral myotome throughout development. Dorsal myotomes from young embryos were also permissive for CaP axons, however, older dorsal myotomes were non-permissive, showing that permissiveness of dorsal myotome for normal CaP pathfinding diminished over time. This process appears to depend on signals from the embryo, since dorsal myotomes matured in vitro remained permissive for CaP axons. Genetic mosaics between wild-type and floating head mutant embryos revealed notochord involvement in dorsal myotome change of permissiveness. Dorsal and ventral myotomes from both younger and older floating head mutant embryos were permissive for CaP axons. These data suggest that initially both dorsal and ventral myotomes are permissive for CaP axons but as development proceeds, there is a notochord-dependent decrease in permissiveness of dorsal myotome for CaP axonal outgrowth. This change participates in restricting the CaP pathway to the ventral myotome and thus to neuromuscular specificity.