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Development. 2008 Oct;135(19):3259-69. doi: 10.1242/dev.023200. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

In vivo birthdating by BAPTISM reveals that trigeminal sensory neuron diversity depends on early neurogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Center for Brain Science, Broad Institute, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


Among sensory systems, the somatic sense is exceptional in its ability to detect a wide range of chemical, mechanical and thermal stimuli. How this sensory diversity is established during development remains largely elusive. We devised a method (BAPTISM) that uses the photoconvertible fluorescent protein Kaede to simultaneously analyze birthdate and cell fate in live zebrafish embryos. We found that trigeminal sensory ganglia are formed from early-born and late-born neurons. Early-born neurons give rise to multiple classes of sensory neurons that express different ion channels. By contrast, late-born neurons are restricted in their fate and do not form chemosensory neurons expressing the ion channel TrpA1b. Accordingly, larvae lacking early-born neurons do not respond to the TrpA1b agonist allyl isothiocyanate. These results indicate that the multimodal specification and function of trigeminal sensory ganglia depends on the timing of neurogenesis.

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