• neuromast;
  • cell proliferation;
  • primordium;
  • cell migration;
  • quiescence;
  • determinate lineage


The sense organs of the posterior lateral line system (neuromasts) are formed by a migrating primordium. In zebrafish, the primordium comprises approximately 100 cells at the onset of migration, and has deposited approximately 300 cells by the end of the process. Here, we report localized phases of mitotic activity and of mitotic quiescence within the migrating primordium. Quiescence in the leading region seems associated to the formation of a new prospective neuromast, whereas quiescence in the trailing region follows a wave of mitoses that synchronize trailing cells in G0/G1 phase, anticipating neuromast differentiation. Manipulating the size of the primordium does not lead to changes in the rate of cell proliferation. We also show that two mitoses often take place nearly synchronously in adjacent cells, suggestive of a determinate lineage. We conclude that proliferation in the migrating primordium follows a stereotyped pattern that closely anticipates the normal development of the system. Developmental Dynamics 238:1042–1051, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.