Dorso-ventral pigment pattern differences are the most widespread pigmentary adaptations in vertebrates. In mammals, this pattern is controlled by regulating melanin chemistry in melanocytes using a protein, agouti-signalling peptide (ASIP). In fish, studies of pigment patterning have focused on stripe formation, identifying a core striping mechanism dependent upon interactions between different pigment cell types. In contrast, mechanisms driving the dorso-ventral countershading pattern have been overlooked. Here, we demonstrate that, in fact, zebrafish utilize two distinct adult pigment patterning mechanisms – an ancient dorso-ventral patterning mechanism, and a more recent striping mechanism based on cell–cell interactions; remarkably, the dorso-ventral patterning mechanism also utilizes ASIP. These two mechanisms function largely independently, with resultant patterns superimposed to give the full pattern.
- 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