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Keywords:

  • spinal cord;
  • oligodendrocyte;
  • motor neuron;
  • radial glia;
  • zebrafish transgenic;
  • Notch

Abstract

During vertebrate neural development, many dividing neuroepithelial precursors adopt features of radial glia, which are now known to also serve as neural precursors. In mammals, most radial glia do not persist past early postnatal stages, whereas zebrafish maintain large numbers of radial glia into adulthood. The mechanisms that maintain and specify radial glia for different fates are still poorly understood. We investigated formation of radial glia in the spinal cord of zebrafish and the role of Notch signaling in their maintenance and specification. We found that spinal cord precursors begin to express gfap+, a marker of radial glia, during neurogenesis and that gfap cells give rise to both neurons and oligodendrocytes. We also determined that Notch signaling is continuously required during embryogenesis to maintain radial glia, limit motor neuron formation and permit oligodendrocyte development, but that radial glia seem to be refractory to changes in Notch activity in postembryonic animals. Developmental Dynamics 237:2081–2089, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.