Morphogenesis of the optic tectum in the medaka (Oryzias latipes): a morphological and molecular study, with special emphasis on cell proliferation

J Comp Neurol. 1999 Oct 25;413(3):385-404. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9861(19991025)413:3<385::aid-cne3>;2-p.


We analyzed the medaka optic tectum (OT) morphogenesis by using 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) immunohistochemistry (with a new method we developed for pulse-labeling embryos) and in situ hybridization with three probes, two for recently cloned homeobox genes (Ol-Prx3 [Paired-Related-Homeobox3] and Ol-Gsh1 [Genetic-Screen-Homeobox1]) and one for Ol-tailless. The tectal anlage first appears as a sheet of proliferating cells expressing Ol-Gsh1 and Ol-tailless but not Ol-Prx3. Cells subsequently cease to proliferate in a superficial and rostral zone and begin to express Ol-Prx3. When tectal lamination begins, the proliferative zone (mpz) becomes restricted to a crescent at the OT medial, caudal, and lateral margin. This mpz functions throughout the fish's entire life. It produces cells that are added at the OT's edge as radial rows, spanning every layer of the OT. The cells of the mpz continue to express Ol-tailless in the adult, whereas Ol-Gsh1 expression is turned off. When superficial layers form, Ol-Prx3 expression becomes restricted to the underlying deep layer, where it persists in the adult. Ol-Prx3 seems to be a marker for the differentiation of a subset of deep cells and allows analysis of tectal lamination, whereas Ol-tailless and Ol-Gsh1 could be involved in the control of tectal cell proliferation. This study constitutes a first step toward molecular approach to OT development in anamniotes. We compare and discuss the expression patterns of the homologs of the genes studied, and more generally the morphogenetic patterns of the medaka tectum, with those encountered in other cortical structures and in other vertebrate groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cell Division
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Homeodomain Proteins / analysis
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Oryzias / embryology*
  • Oryzias / physiology
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / analysis
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics
  • Superior Colliculi / cytology
  • Superior Colliculi / embryology*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • SHOX2 protein, human