In mammals, cerebellar neurons are categorized as glutamatergic or GABAergic, and are derived from progenitors that express the proneural genes atoh1 or ptf1a, respectively. In zebrafish, three atoh1 genes, atoh1a, atoh1b, and atoh1c, are expressed in overlapping but distinct expression domains in the upper rhombic lip (URL): ptf1a is expressed exclusively in the ventricular zone (VZ). Using transgenic lines expressing fluorescent proteins under the control of the regulatory elements of atoh1a and ptf1a, we traced the lineages of the cerebellar neurons. The atoh1(+) progenitors gave rise not only to granule cells but also to neurons of the anteroventral rhombencephalon. The ptf1a(+) progenitors generated Purkinje cells. The olig2(+) eurydendroid cells, which are glutamatergic, were derived mostly from ptf1a(+) progenitors in the VZ but some originated from the atoh1(+) progenitors in the URL. In the adult cerebellum, atoh1a, atoh1b, and atoh1c are expressed in the molecular layer of the valvula cerebelli and of the medial corpus cerebelli, and ptf1a was detected in the VZ. The proneural gene expression patterns coincided with the sites of proliferating neuronal progenitors in the adult cerebellum. Our data indicate that proneural gene-linked neurogenesis is evolutionarily conserved in the cerebellum among vertebrates, and that the continuously generated neurons help remodel neural circuits in the adult zebrafish cerebellum.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.