Cell lineage of zebrafish blastomeres. I. Cleavage pattern and cytoplasmic bridges between cells

Dev Biol. 1985 Mar;108(1):78-85. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(85)90010-7.


Patterns of cleavage and cytoplasmic connections between blastomeres in the embryo of the zebrafish, Brachydanio rerio have been described. The cell division pattern is often very regular; in many embryos a blastomere's lineage may be ascertained from its position in the cluster through the 64-cell stage. At the 5th cleavage, however, significant variability in pattern is observed, and alternative patterns of the 5th cleavage are described. The early cleavages are partial, incompletely separating blastomeres from the giant yolk cell. The tracer fluorescein-dextran (FD) was injected into blastomeres to learn the extent of the cytoplasmic bridging. It was observed that until the 10th cleavage, blastomeres located along the blastoderm margin maintain cytoplasmic bridges to the yolk cell. Beginning with the 5th cleavage, FD injected into a nonmarginal blastomere either remains confined to the injected cell, or if the injection was early in the cell cycle, the tracer spreads to the cell's sibling, through a bridge persisting from the previous cleavage. On the other hand, injected Lucifer yellow spreads, presumably via gap junctions, widely among blastomeres in a pattern unrelated to lineage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastomeres / cytology*
  • Cell Division
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure*
  • Fishes / embryology*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence