• basal body;
  • cilia;
  • zebrafish;
  • polarity;
  • retina;
  • cones


The asymmetric positioning of basal bodies, and therefore cilia, is often critical for proper cilia function. This planar polarity is critical for motile cilia function but has not been extensively investigated for nonmotile cilia or for sensory cilia such as vertebrate photoreceptors. Zebrafish photoreceptors form an organized mosaic ideal for investigating cilia positioning. We report that, in the adult retina, the basal bodies of red-, green-, and blue-sensitive cone photoreceptors localized asymmetrically on the cell edge nearest the optic nerve. In contrast, no patterning was seen in the basal bodies of ultraviolet-sensitive cones or in rod photoreceptors. The asymmetric localization of basal bodies was consistent in all regions of the adult retina. Basal body patterning was unaffected in the cones of the XOPS-mCFP transgenic line, which lacks rod photoreceptors. Finally, the adult pattern was not seen in 7-days-postfertilization (dpf) larvae; basal bodies were randomly distributed in all the photoreceptor subtypes. These results establish the asymmetrical localization of basal bodies in red-, green-, and blue-sensitive cones in adult zebrafish retinas but not in larvae. This pattern suggests an active cellular mechanism regulated the positioning of basal bodies after the transition to the adult mosaic and that rods do not seem to be necessary for the patterning of cone basal bodies. J. Comp. Neurol. 521:1803–1816, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.