The embryonic development of the posterior lateral line of zebrafish involves the migration from head to tail of a primordium comprising approximately 100 cells, and the deposition at regular intervals of presumptive mechanosensory organs (neuromasts). Migration depends on the presence of chemokine SDF1 along the pathway, and on the asymmetrical distribution of chemokine receptors CXCR4 and CXCR7 in the primordium. Primordium polarization depends on Wnt signaling in the leading region. Here, we examine the role of a major effector of Wnt signaling, lef1, in this system. We show that, although its inactivation has no overt effect on the expression of cxcr4b and cxcr7b, lef1 contributes to their control. We also show that cell proliferation, which ensures constant primordium size despite successive rounds of cell deposition, is reduced upon lef1 inactivation. Because of this defect, the primordium runs short of cells and vanishes before the line has been completed. We conclude that lef1-mediated Wnt signaling is involved in various aspects of primordium migration, although part of this implication is masked by a high level of developmental redundancy.
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.