Peripheral nerve development in zebrafish requires muscle patterning by tcf15/paraxis

Lauren E. Limbach, Rocky L. Penick, Rudy S. Casseday, Maddelyn A. Hyland, Erika A. Pontillo, Afomia N. Ayele, Kristen M. Pitts, Sarah D. Ackerman, Breanne L. Harty, Amy L. Herbert, Kelly R. Monk, Sarah C. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The vertebrate peripheral nervous system (PNS) is an intricate network that conveys sensory and motor information throughout the body. During development, extracellular cues direct the migration of axons and glia through peripheral tissues. Currently, the suite of molecules that govern PNS axon-glial patterning is incompletely understood. To elucidate factors that are critical for peripheral nerve development, we characterized the novel zebrafish mutant, stl159, that exhibits abnormalities in PNS patterning. In these mutants, motor and sensory nerves that develop adjacent to axial muscle fail to extend normally, and neuromasts in the posterior lateral line system, as well as neural crest-derived melanocytes, are incorrectly positioned. The stl159 genetic lesion lies in the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor tcf15, which has been previously implicated in proper development of axial muscles. We find that targeted loss of tcf15 via CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing results in the PNS patterning abnormalities observed in stl159 mutants. Because tcf15 is expressed in developing muscle prior to nerve extension, rather than in neurons or glia, we predict that tcf15 non-cell-autonomously promotes peripheral nerve patterning in zebrafish through regulation of extracellular patterning cues. Our work underscores the importance of muscle-derived factors in PNS development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Lateral line nerve
  • Myelin
  • Paraxial mesoderm
  • Schwann cells
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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