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Dev Dyn. 2010 Mar;239(3):747-62. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22184.

Cellular mechanisms of posterior neural tube morphogenesis in the zebrafish.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire, Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, INRA, Route de Saint-Cyr; Versailles Cedex, France.


The zebrafish is a well established model system for studying neural development, yet neurulation remains poorly understood in this organism. In particular, the morphogenetic movements that shape the posterior neural tube (PNT) have not been described. Using tools for imaging neural tissue and tracking the behavior of cells in real time, we provide the first comprehensive analysis of the cellular events shaping the PNT. We observe that this tissue is formed in a stepwise manner, beginning with merging of presumptive neural domains in the tailbud (Stage 1); followed by neural convergence and infolding to shape the neural rod (Stage 2); and continued elongation of the PNT, in absence of further convergence (Stage 3). We further demonstrate that cell proliferation plays only a minimal role in PNT elongation. Overall, these mechanisms resemble those previously described in anterior regions, suggesting that, in contrast to amniotes, neurulation is a fairly uniform process in zebrafish.

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