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Keywords:

  • zebrafish;
  • neural crest;
  • periocular mesenchyme;
  • eye;
  • anterior segment;
  • orbit

Abstract

In the anterior vertebrate head, a population of neural crest cells (NCCs) migrates to the periocular mesenchyme and makes critical contributions to the developing eye and orbit. Improper migration and differentiation of these NCCs have been implicated in human diseases such as congenital glaucoma and anterior segment dysgenesis syndromes. The mechanisms by which these cells migrate to their target tissues within and around the eye are not well understood. We present a fate map of zebrafish diencephalic and mesencephalic NCC contributions to the eye and orbit. The fate map closely resembles that in chick and mice, demonstrating evolutionary conservation. To gain insight into the mechanisms of anterior NCC guidance, we used the eyeless mutant chokh/rx3. We show that, in chokh mutants, dorsal anterior NCC migration is severely disorganized. Time-lapse analysis shows that NCCs have significantly reduced migration rates and directionality in chokh mutants. Developmental Dynamics 237:1645–1652, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.