Int. J. Dev. Biol. 51: 327 - 331 (2007)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.062217al
© UPV/EHU Press

Pax7 identifies neural crest, chromatophore lineages and pigment stem cells during zebrafish development

Ana M Lacosta*, Jesús Canudas, Cristina González, Pedro Muniesa, Manuel Sarasa and Luis Domínguez

Laboratory of Neurobiology, Department of Anatomy, Embryology and Animal Genetics, Faculty of Veterinary, University of Zaragoza, Spain

ABSTRACT Using immunostaining during early zebrafish embryogenesis, we report that the cranial and trunk neural crest expresses the paired box protein Pax7, thus revealing a novel neural crest marker in zebrafish. In the head, we show that Pax7 is broadly expressed in the cranial crest cells, which indicates that duplication of the paralogous group Pax3/7 at the origin of vertebrates included the conserved expression of Pax7 in the head neural crest of all of the vertebrates species studied so far. In the trunk, Pax7 recognizes both premigratory and migratory neural crest cells. Notably, we observed the expression of Pax7 during the development of melanophore, xanthophore and iridophore precursor cells. In contrast to the case of melanocyte precursors in birds, Pax7 showed overlapping expression with early melanin pigment. Finally, during the larva to adult transition, we show that pigment stem cells recapitulate the expression of Pax7.


Pax7, neural crest, chromatophore precursor, pigment stem cell

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