Wan, Y., Almeida, A.D., Rulands, S., Chalour, N., Muresan, L., Wu, Y., Simons, B.D., He, J., Harris, W. (2016) The ciliary marginal zone of the zebrafish retina: clonal and time-lapse analysis of a continuously growing tissue. Development (Cambridge, England). 143(7):1099-107.
Clonal analysis is helping us understand the dynamics of cell replacement in homeostatic adult tissues (Simons and Clevers, 2011). Such an analysis, however, has not yet been achieved for continuously growing adult tissues, but is essential if we wish to understand the architecture of adult organs. The retinas of lower vertebrates grow throughout life, from retinal stem cells (RSCs) and retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) at the rim of the retina, called the ciliary marginal zone (CMZ). Here, we show that RSCs reside in a niche at the extreme periphery of the CMZ and divide asymmetrically along a radial (peripheral to central) axis, leaving one daughter in the peripheral niche and the other more central where it becomes an RPC. We also show that RPCs of the CMZ have clonal sizes and compositions that are statistically similar to progenitor cells of the embryonic retina and fit the same stochastic model of proliferation. These results link embryonic and postembryonic cell behavior, and help to explain the constancy of tissue architecture that has been generated over a lifetime.