Mutations affecting neurogenesis and brain morphology in the zebrafish, Danio rerio.
In a screen for embryonic mutants in the zebrafish a large number of mutants were isolated with abnormal brain morphology. We describe here 26 mutants in 13 complementation groups that show abnormal development of large regions of the brain. Early neurogenesis is affected in white tail (wit). During segmentation stages, homozygous wit embryos display an irregularly formed neural keel, particularly in the hindbrain. Using a variety of molecular markers, a severe increase in the number of various early differentiating neurons can be demonstrated. In contrast, late differentiating neurons, radial glial cells and some nonneural cell types, such as the neural crest-derived melanoblasts, are much reduced. Somitogenesis appears delayed. In addition, very reduced numbers of melanophores are present posterior to the mid-trunk. The wit phenotype is reminiscent of neurogenic mutants in Drosophila, such as Notch or Delta. In mutant parachute (pac) embryos the general organization of the hindbrain is disturbed and many rounded cells accumulate loosely in the hindbrain and midbrain ventricles. Mutants in a group of 6 genes, snakehead(snk), natter (nat), otter (ott), fullbrain (ful), viper (vip) and white snake (wis) develop collapsed brain ventricles, before showing signs of general degeneration. atlantis (atl), big head (bid), wicked brain (win), scabland (sbd) and eisspalte (ele) mutants have different malformation of the brain folds. Some of them have transient phenotypes, and mutant individuals may grow up to adults.