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How the zebrafish gets its stripes
Date:8/28/2014

multiply as differentiated cells to cover the skin of the fish before the silvery and black cells arrive to form the stripes."

A striking observation is that both the silvery and yellow cells are able to switch cell shape and colour, depending on their location. The yellow cells compact to closely cover the dense silvery cells forming the light stripe, colouring it golden, and acquire a loose stellate shape over the black cells of the stripes. The silvery cells thinly spread over the stripe region, giving it a blue tint. They switch shape again at a distance into the dense form to aggregate, forming a new light stripe. These cell behaviours create a series of alternating light and dark stripes. The precise superposition of the dense form of silvery and yellow cells in the light stripe, and the loose silvery and yellow cells superimposed over the black cells in the stripe cause the striking contrast between the golden and blue coloration of the pattern.

The authors speculate that variations on these cell behaviours could be at play in generating the great diversity of colour patterns in fish. "These findings inform our way of thinking about colour pattern formation in other fish, but also in animals which are not accessible to direct observation during development such as peacocks, tigers and zebras", says Nsslein-Volhard.


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Contact: Nadja Winter
presse-eb@tuebingen.mpg.de
49-707-160-1444
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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