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Wnt11 acts on dermomyotome cells to guide epaxial myotome morphogenesis

Heilig AK, Nakamura R, Shimada A, Hashimoto Y, Nakamura Y, Wittbrodt J, Takeda H, Kawanishi T
eLife. 2022;11:e71845. doi:10.7554/eLife.71845
The dorsal axial muscles, or epaxial muscles, are a fundamental structure covering the spinal cord and vertebrae, as well as mobilizing the vertebrate trunk. To date, mechanisms underlying the morphogenetic process shaping the epaxial myotome are largely unknown. To address this, we used the medaka zic1/zic4-enhancer mutant Double anal fin (Da), which exhibits ventralized dorsal trunk structures resulting in impaired epaxial myotome morphology and incomplete coverage over the neural tube. In wild type, dorsal dermomyotome (DM) cells reduce their proliferative activity after somitogenesis. Subsequently, a subset of DM cells, which does not differentiate into the myotome population, begins to form unique large protrusions extending dorsally to guide the epaxial myotome dorsally. In Da, by contrast, DM cells maintain the high proliferative activity and mainly form small protrusions. By combining RNA- and ChIP-sequencing analyses, we revealed direct targets of Zic1, which are specifically expressed in dorsal somites and involved in various aspects of development, such as cell migration, extracellular matrix organization, and cell-cell communication. Among these, we identified wnt11 as a crucial factor regulating both cell proliferation and protrusive activity of DM cells. We propose that dorsal extension of the epaxial myotome is guided by a non-myogenic subpopulation of DM cells and that wnt11 empowers the DM cells to drive the coverage of the neural tube by the epaxial myotome.
Not Epub
Organism or Cell Type: 
Oryzias latipes (medaka)
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