Specification of the Zebrafish Nervous System by Nonaxial Signals

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Science  11 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5323, pp. 254-257
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5323.254

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The organizer of the amphibian gastrula provides the neurectoderm with both neuralizing and posteriorizing (transforming) signals. In zebrafish, transplantations show that a spatially distinct transformer signal emanates from tissues other than the organizer. Cells of the germring (nonaxial mesendoderm) posteriorized forebrain progenitors when grafted nearby, resulting in an ectopic hindbrain-like structure; in contrast, cells of the organizer (axial mesendoderm) caused no posterior transformation. Local application of basic fibroblast growth factor, a candidate transformer in Xenopus, caused malformation but not hindbrain transformation in the forebrain. Thus, the zebrafish gastrula may integrate spatially distinct signals from the organizer and the germring to pattern the neural axis.

  • * Present address: UCSF/Gallo Center, Building 1, Room 101, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA. E-mail: kwoo{at}

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