During development, organ primordia reorganize to form repeated functional units. In zebrafish (Danio rerio), mechanosensory organs called neuromasts are deposited at regular intervals by the migrating posterior lateral line (pLL) primordium. The pLL primordium is organized into polarized rosettes representing proto-neuromasts, each with a central atoh1a-positive focus of mechanosensory precursors. We show that rosettes form cyclically from a progenitor pool at the leading zone of the primordium as neuromasts are deposited from the trailing region. fgf3/10 signals localized to the leading zone are required for rosette formation, atoh1a expression, and primordium migration. We propose that the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) source controls primordium organization, which, in turn, regulates the periodicity of neuromast deposition. This previously unrecognized mechanism may be applicable to understanding segmentation and morphogenesis in other organ systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas