Melanophore multinucleation pathways in zebrafish

Dev Growth Differ. 2018 Sep;60(7):454-459. doi: 10.1111/dgd.12564. Epub 2018 Aug 7.


In zebrafish, apart from mononuclear melanophores, bi- and trinuclear melanophores are frequently observed; however, the manner in which multinucleation of these cells occurs during fish development remains unknown. Here, we analyzed the processes underlying multinucleation of zebrafish melanophores. Transgenic zebrafish in which melanophore nuclei were labeled with a histone H2B-red fluorescent reporter protein were used to evaluate the distribution of mono-, bi-, and trinuclear melanophores in both the trunk and fin. Half of the melanophores examined were binuclear and approximately 1% were trinuclear. We compared cell size, cell motility, and survival rate between mono- and binuclear melanophores grown in a culture dish, and we found that cell size and survival rate were significantly larger in binuclear melanophores. We then analyzed the behavior of melanoblasts and melanophores from transgenic zebrafish using in vivo and in vitro live-cell imaging. We detected division and differentiation of melanoblasts, as well as melanoblast nuclear division without subsequent cellular division. In addition, we observed cellular and nuclear division in melanophores, although these events were very infrequent in vitro. On the basis of our findings, we present a scheme for melanophore multinucleation in zebrafish.

Keywords: cell nucleus division; cell-cell fusion; chromatophore; melanophore; zebrafish.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Melanophores / cytology*
  • Melanophores / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish / metabolism*