Skin pigment patterns are important, being under strong selection for multiple roles including camouflage and UV protection. Pigment cells underlying these patterns form from adult pigment stem cells (APSCs). In zebrafish, APSCs derive from embryonic neural crest cells, but sit dormant until activated to produce pigment cells during metamorphosis. The APSCs are set-aside in an ErbB signaling dependent manner, but the mechanism maintaining quiescence until metamorphosis remains unknown. Mutants for a pigment pattern gene, parade, exhibit ectopic pigment cells localised to the ventral trunk. We show that parade encodes Endothelin receptor Aa, expressed in the blood vessels. Using chemical genetics, coupled with analysis of cell fate studies, we show that the ectopic pigment cells derive from APSCs. We propose that a novel population of APSCs exists in association with medial blood vessels, and that their quiescence is dependent upon Endothelin-dependent factors expressed by the blood vessels.
- Department of Biology & Biochemistry - Professor
- Centre for Networks and Collective Behaviour
- EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistical Applied Mathematics (SAMBa)
- Centre for Mathematical Biology
- Centre for Integrated Bioprocessing Research (CIBR)
Person: Research & Teaching