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Biol Open. 2012 Aug 15;1(8):806-14. doi: 10.1242/bio.20121958. Epub 2012 Jun 29.

Fss/Tbx6 is required for central dermomyotome cell fate in zebrafish.

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Department of Biology, Wesleyan University , Middletown, CT 06459 , USA ; Division of Zoology and Functional Anatomy, Department of Organismic Biology, University of Salzburg , A-5020 Salzburg, Austria.


The dermomyotome is a pool of progenitor cells on the surface of the myotome. In zebrafish, dermomyotome precursors (anterior border cells, ABCs) can be first identified in the anterior portion of recently formed somites. They must be prevented from undergoing terminal differentiation during segmentation, even while mesodermal cells around them respond to signaling cues and differentiate.T-box containing transcription factors regulate many aspects of mesoderm fate including segmentation and somite patterning. The fused somites (fss) gene is the zebrafish ortholog of tbx6. We demonstrate that in addition to its requirement for segmentation, fss/tbx6 is also required for the specification of ABCs and subsequently the central dermomyotome. The absence of Tbx6-dependent central dermomyotome cells in fss/tbx6 mutants is spatially coincident with a patterning defect in the myotome.Using transgenic fish with a heat-shock inducible tbx6 gene in the fss/tbx6 mutant background, we further demonstrate that ubiquitous fss/tbx6 expression has spatially distinct effects on recovery of the dermomyotome and segment boundaries, suggesting that the mechanism of Fss/Tbx6 action is distinct with respect to dermomyotome development and segmentation.We propose that Fss/Tbx6 is required for preventing myogenic differentiation of central dermomyotome precursors before and after segmentation and that central dermomyotome cells represent a genetically and functionally distinct subpopulation within the zebrafish dermomyotome.


Anterior Border Cells; Fast muscle; Muscle pioneer; Myogenesis; Segmentation; Slow muscle; Somite

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