Regional cell movement and tissue patterning in the zebrafish embryo revealed by fate mapping with caged fluorescein

Biochem Cell Biol. 1997;75(5):551-62.


Determination of fate maps and cell lineage tracing have previously been carried out in the zebrafish embryo by following the progeny of individual cells injected with fluorescent dyes. We review the information obtained from these experiments and then present an approach to fate mapping and cell movement tracing, utilizing the activation of caged fluorescein-dextran. This method has several advantages over single-cell injections in that it is rapid, allows cells at all depths in the embryo to be marked, can be used to follow cells starting at any time during development, and allows an appreciation of the movements of cells located in a coherent group at the time of uncaging. We demonstrate that the approach is effective in providing additional and complementary information on prospective mesoderm and brain tissues studied previously. We also present, for the first time, a fate map of placodal tissues including the otic vesicle, lateral line, cranial ganglia, lens, and olfactory epithelium. The prospective placodal cells are oriented at the 50% epiboly stage on the ventral side of the embryo with anterior structures close to the animal pole, and posterior structures nearer to the germ ring.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology*
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / embryology
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Movement*
  • Dextrans*
  • Ectoderm / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Fluoresceins*
  • Fluorescent Dyes*
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Zebrafish / embryology*


  • Dextrans
  • Fluoresceins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • fluorescein-dextran