Alexandre, P., Reugels, A.M., Barker, D., Blanc, E., and Clarke, J.D. (2010) Neurons derive from the more apical daughter in asymmetric divisions in the zebrafish neural tube. Nature Neuroscience. 13(6):673-679.
In the developing CNS, asymmetric cell division is critical for maintaining the balanced production of differentiating neurons while renewing the population of neural progenitors. In invertebrates, this process depends on asymmetric inheritance of fate determinants during progenitor divisions. A similar mechanism is widely believed to underlie asymmetrically fated divisions in vertebrates, but compelling evidence for this is missing. We used live imaging of individual progenitors in the intact zebrafish embryo CNS to test this hypothesis. We found that asymmetric inheritance of a subcellular domain is strongly correlated with asymmetric daughter fates and our results reveal an unexpected feature of this process. The daughter cell destined to become a neuron was derived from the more apical of the two daughters, whereas the more basal daughter inherited the basal process and replenished the apical progenitor pool.