bioRxiv. 2019:[Preprint] doi:10.1101/517714
The morphogenesis of the nervous system requires coordinating the specification and differentiation of neural precursor cells, the establishment of neuroepithelial tissue architecture and the execution of specific cellular movements. How these aspects of neural development are linked is incompletely understood. Here we inactivate a major regulator of embryonic neurogenesis - the Delta/Notch pathway - and analyze the effect on zebrafish central nervous system morphogenesis. While some parts of the nervous system can establish neuroepithelial tissue architecture independently of Notch, Notch signaling is essential for spinal cord morphogenesis. In this tissue, Notch signaling is required to repress neuronal differentiation and promote neuroepithelial apico-basal polarity. Concomitant with a loss of their neuroepithelial properties, Notch signaling deficient cells also alter their morphogenetic behavior. In the wild-type zebrafish neural tube, cells divide at the organ midline to contribute one daughter cell to each organ half. Notch deficient animals fail to display this behavior and therefore form a misproportioned spinal cord. Taken together, our findings show that Notch signaling governs not only the cellular composition but also the morphogenetic shaping of the zebrafish spinal cord.
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