Neural crest forms four major categories of derivatives: pigment cells, peripheral neurons, peripheral glia, and ectomesenchymal cells. Some early neural crest cells generate progeny of several fates. How specific cell fates become specified is still poorly understood. Here we show that zebrafish embryos with mutations in the colourless gene have severe defects in most crest-derived cell types, including pigment cells, neurons and specific glia. In contrast, craniofacial skeleton and medial fin mesenchyme are normal. These observations suggest that colourless has a key role in development of non-ectomesenchymal neural crest fates, but not in development of ectomesenchymal fates. Thus, the cls mutant phenotype reveals a segregation of ectomesenchymal and non-ectomesenchymal fates during zebrafish neural crest development. The combination of pigmentation and enteric nervous system defects makes colourless mutations a model for two human neurocristopathies, Waardenburg-Shah syndrome and Hirschsprung's disease.
|Publication status||Published - 2000|