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Interrelationship and modularity of notochord and somites: a comparative view on zebrafish and chicken vertebral body development

Authors

  • T. P. de Azevedo,

    1. Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centro de Biomedicina Molecular e Estrutural, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal
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  • P. E. Witten,

    Corresponding author
    1. Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Biology Department, Ghent University, Belgium
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  • A. Huysseune,

    1. Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Biology Department, Ghent University, Belgium
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  • A. Bensimon-Brito,

    1. Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Biology Department, Ghent University, Belgium
    2. Center of Marine Sciences, CCMar, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal
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  • C. Winkler,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences; National University of Singapore, Singapore city, Singapore
    2. NUS Centre for Bioimaging Sciences (CBIS), singapore city, Singapore
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  • T. T. To,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences; National University of Singapore, Singapore city, Singapore
    2. NUS Centre for Bioimaging Sciences (CBIS), singapore city, Singapore
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  • I. Palmeirim

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centro de Biomedicina Molecular e Estrutural, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal
    2. Regenerative Medicine Program, Departamento de Ciências Biomédicas e Medicina, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal
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Author’s Addresses: Isabel Palmeirim, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine (CBME), Program of Regenerative Medicine Center for Molecular Biomedicine and Structural Algarve University Campus of Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
E-mail: ipalmeirim@gmail.com
P. Eckhard Witten, Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Biology Department, Ghent University, Ledeganckstraat 35, B-9000, Ghent, Belgium.
E-mail: peckhardwitten@aol.com

Summary

Tetrapod vertebrae are sclerotome-derived metameric structures. Cells from this tissue provide cartilage that surrounds the notochord and give rise to the vertebral centrum as well as the vertebral arches. Eventually, later on, the cartilage is remodeled into bone. Vertebral body development in teleost fish is different, since the mineralization of the notochord sheath is the first step of vertebral centrum formation and no cartilage is involved in this process. Thus, the sclerotomal contribution to early teleost vertebral centrum formation has been questioned. In contrast, teleost vertebral arches are sclerotome-derived and often have cartilaginous precursors. In this short review we compare the development of vertebral bodies in chicken and teleost fish, analyzing the role of the notochord and the somites in vertebral body development and addressing two interesting questions: (i) Could the vertebral bodies and arches arise and function as separate developmental modules? (ii) Could the most medial presomitic mesoderm (PSM) cells and the notochord form a common developmental module? Finally we suggest (iii) that this developmental module is physically grouped in the teleost notochord but spatially subdivided in the chick where the medial PSM is responsible for vertebral body formation.

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