Caron, S.J., Prober, D., Choy, M., and Schier, A.F. (2008) In vivo birthdating by BAPTISM reveals that trigeminal sensory neuron diversity depends on early neurogenesis. Development (Cambridge, England). 135(19):3259-3269.
Among sensory systems, the somatic sense is exceptional in its ability to detect a wide range of chemical, mechanical and thermal stimuli. How this sensory diversity is established during development remains largely elusive. We devised a method (BAPTISM) that uses the photoconvertible fluorescent protein Kaede to simultaneously analyze birthdate and cell fate in live zebrafish embryos. We found that trigeminal sensory ganglia are formed from early-born and late-born neurons. Early-born neurons give rise to multiple classes of sensory neurons that express different ion channels. By contrast, late-born neurons are restricted in their fate and do not form chemosensory neurons expressing the ion channel TrpA1b. Accordingly, larvae lacking early-born neurons do not respond to the TrpA1b agonist allyl isothiocyanate. These results indicate that the multimodal specification and function of trigeminal sensory ganglia depends on the timing of neurogenesis.