Interactions between muscle fibers and segment boundaries in zebrafish

Henry, C.A., McNulty, I.M., Durst, W.A., Munchel, S.E., and Amacher, S.L.
Developmental Biology   287(2): 346-360 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Amacher, Sharon, Henry, Clarissa A., McNulty, Ian
Somite, Muscle, Notch, her1, her7, b567, after eight/deltaD, Hedgehog, Myoseptum, Myotome
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Body Patterning/physiology
  • Cell Shape
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Morphogenesis/physiology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal/physiology*
  • Mutation
  • Receptors, Notch/genetics
  • Receptors, Notch/metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Somites/physiology*
  • Trans-Activators/genetics
  • Trans-Activators/metabolism
  • Zebrafish/embryology
  • Zebrafish/genetics
  • Zebrafish/physiology*
  • Zebrafish Proteins/genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism*
16225858 Full text @ Dev. Biol.
The most obvious segmental structures in the vertebrate embryo are somites: transient structures that give rise to vertebrae and much of the musculature. In zebrafish, most somitic cells give rise to long muscle fibers that are anchored to intersegmental boundaries. Therefore, this boundary is analogous to the mammalian tendon in that it transduces muscle-generated force to the skeletal system. We have investigated interactions between somite boundaries and muscle fibers. We define three stages of segment boundary formation. The first stage is the formation of the initial epithelial somite boundary. The second "transition" stage involves both the elongation of initially round muscle precursor cells and somite boundary maturation. The third stage is myotome boundary formation, where the boundary becomes rich in extracellular matrix and all muscle precursor cells have elongated to form long muscle fibers. It is known that formation of the initial epithelial somite boundary requires Notch signaling; vertebrate Notch pathway mutants show severe defects in somitogenesis. However, many zebrafish Notch pathway mutants are homozygous viable suggesting that segmentation of their larval and adult body plans at least partially recovers. We show that epithelial somite boundary formation and slow-twitch muscle morphogenesis are initially disrupted in after eight (aei) mutant embryos (which lack function of the Notch ligand, DeltaD); however, myotome boundaries form later ("recover") in a Hedgehog-dependent fashion. Inhibition of Hedgehog-induced slow muscle induction in aei/deltaD and deadly seven (des)/notch1a mutant embryos suggests that slow muscle is necessary for myotome boundary recovery in the absence of initial epithelial somite boundary formation. Because we have previously demonstrated that slow muscle migration triggers fast muscle cell elongation in zebrafish, we hypothesize that migrating slow muscle facilitates myotome boundary formation in aei/deltaD mutant embryos by patterning coordinated fast muscle cell elongation. In addition, we utilized genetic mosaic analysis to show that somite boundaries also function to limit the extent to which fast muscle cells can elongate. Combined, our results indicate that multiple interactions between somite boundaries and muscle fibers mediate zebrafish segmentation.
Genes / Markers
Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes