ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-110613-15
Intercellular bridges in vertebrate gastrulation
Caneparo, L., Pantazis, P., Dempsey, W., and Fraser, S.E.
Date: 2011
Source: PLoS One   6(5): e20230 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Caneparo, Luca, Dempsey, William, Fraser, Scott E., Pantazis, Periklis (Laki)
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Cell Surface Extensions/metabolism
  • Extracellular Space/metabolism*
  • Gastrulation*
  • Germ Layers/cytology
  • Zebrafish/embryology*
PubMed: 21647454 Full text @ PLoS One
The developing zebrafish embryo has been the subject of many studies of regional patterning, stereotypical cell movements and changes in cell shape. To better study the morphological features of cells during gastrulation, we generated mosaic embryos expressing membrane attached Dendra2 to highlight cellular boundaries. We find that intercellular bridges join a significant fraction of epiblast cells in the zebrafish embryo, reaching several cell diameters in length and spanning across different regions of the developing embryos. These intercellular bridges are distinct from the cellular protrusions previously reported as extending from hypoblast cells (1-2 cellular diameters in length) or epiblast cells (which were shorter). Most of the intercellular bridges were formed at pre-gastrula stages by the daughters of a dividing cell maintaining a membrane tether as they move apart after mitosis. These intercellular bridges persist during gastrulation and can mediate the transfer of proteins between distant cells. These findings reveal a surprising feature of the cellular landscape in zebrafish embryos and open new possibilities for cell-cell communication during gastrulation, with implications for modeling, cellular mechanics, and morphogenetic signaling.