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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2002 Dec;13(6):481-8.

Catching a wave: the oscillator and wavefront that create the zebrafish somite.

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  • 1Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, P.O. Box 208103, New Haven, CT 06520-8103, USA.


Segmentation of the paraxial mesoderm is governed by an oscillator mechanism that creates a dynamic prepattern within the caudal presomitic mesoderm. The oscillator is comprised of genetic circuit involving the Notch signaling pathway and its target genes her1 and her7. The stabilization of the oscillating prepattern is antagonized by a gradient of Fgf signaling which is highest in the caudal presomitic mesoderm. Once the level of Fgf signaling declines in the rostral presomitic mesoderm, a wavefront mediated by the transcription factor fss/tbx24, stabilizes the prepattern and leads to the segmental expression of a number of genes which then establish segment polarity and initiate morphological somite formation.

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