ABSTRACT

Sense organs acquire their distinctive shapes concomitantly with the differentiation of sensory cells and neurons necessary for their function. Although our understanding of the mechanisms controlling morphogenesis and neurogenesis in these structures has grown, how these processes are coordinated remains largely unexplored. Neurogenesis in the zebrafish olfactory epithelium requires the bHLH proneural transcription factor Neurogenin 1 (Neurog1). To address whether Neurog1 also controls morphogenesis, we analysed the migratory behaviour of early olfactory neural progenitors in neurog1 mutant embryos. Our results indicate that the oriented movements of these progenitors are disrupted in this context. Morphogenesis is similarly affected by mutations in the chemokine receptor gene, cxcr4b, suggesting it is a potential Neurog1 target gene. We find that Neurog1 directly regulates cxcr4b through an E-box cluster located just upstream of the cxcr4b transcription start site. Our results suggest that proneural transcription factors, such as Neurog1, directly couple distinct aspects of nervous system development.

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