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Development. 2001 Jun;128(11):1943-9.

Requirements for the kit receptor tyrosine kinase during regeneration of zebrafish fin melanocytes.

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Department of Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine, 4566 Scott Avenue, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Embryonic neural crest-derived melanocytes and their precursors express the kit receptor tyrosine kinase and require its function for their migration and survival. However, mutations in kit also cause deficits in melanocytes that make up adult pigment patterns, including melanocytes that re-establish the zebrafish fin stripes during regeneration. As adult melanocytes in mice and zebrafish are generated and maintained by stem cell populations that are presumably established during embryonic development, it has been proposed that adult phenotypes in kit mutants result from embryonic requirements for kit. We have used a temperature-sensitive zebrafish kit mutation to show that kit is required during adult fin regeneration to promote melanocyte differentiation, rather than during embryonic stages to establish their stem cell precursors. We also demonstrate a transient role for kit in promoting the survival of newly differentiated regeneration melanocytes.

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