Muscle precursor cell movements in zebrafish are dynamic and require Six family genes

Jared C. Talbot, Emily M. Teets, Dhanushika Ratnayake, Phan Q. Duy, Peter D. Currie, Sharon L. Amacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Muscle precursors need to be correctly positioned during embryonic development for proper body movement. In zebrafish, a subset of hypaxial muscle precursors from the anterior somites undergo long-range migration, moving away from the trunk in three streams to form muscles in distal locations such as the fin. We mapped long-distance muscle precursor migrations with unprecedented resolution using live imaging. We identified conserved genes necessary for normal precursor motility (six1a, six1b, six4a, six4b and met). These genes are required for movement away from somites and later to partition two muscles within the fin bud. During normal development, the middle muscle precursor stream initially populates the fin bud, then the remainder of this stream contributes to the posterior hypaxial muscle. When we block fin bud development by impairing retinoic acid synthesis or Fgfr function, the entire stream contributes to the posterior hypaxial muscle indicating that muscle precursors are not committed to the fin during migration. Our findings demonstrate a conserved muscle precursor motility pathway, identify dynamic cell movements that generate posterior hypaxial and fin muscles, and demonstrate flexibility in muscle precursor fates.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev171421
Number of pages13
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019


  • C-met
  • Lateral line
  • Limb
  • Posterior hypaxial muscle
  • Six1
  • Six4
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Sternohyoideus
  • Zebrafish

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