The orientation of hair bundles on top of sensory hair cells (HCs) in neuromasts of the lateral line system allows fish to detect direction of water flow. Each neuromast shows hair bundles arranged in two opposing directions and each afferent neuron only innervate HCs of the same orientation. In previous paper, we show that this opposition is established by expression of Emx2 in half of the HCs, where it mediates hair bundle reversal (Jiang et al. 2017). Here, we show that Emx2 also regulates neuronal selection: afferent neurons innervate either Emx2-positive or negative HCs. In emx2 knockout and gain-of-function neuromasts, all HCs are unidirectional and the innervation patterns and physiological responses of the afferent neurons are dependent on the presence or absence of Emx2. Our results indicate that Emx2 mediates the directional selectivity of neuromasts by two distinct processes: regulating hair bundle orientation in HCs and selecting afferent neuronal targets.
- Katie Kindt
- Doris K Wu
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Marianne Bronner, California Institute of Technology, United States
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
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The ability of epithelial tissues to heal after injury is essential for animal life, yet the mechanisms by which epithelial cells sense tissue damage are incompletely understood. In aquatic organisms such as zebrafish, osmotic shock following injury is believed to be an early and potent activator of a wound response. We find that, in addition to sensing osmolarity, basal skin cells in zebrafish larvae are also sensitive to changes in the particular ionic composition of their surroundings after wounding, specifically the concentration of sodium chloride in the immediate vicinity of the wound. This sodium chloride-specific wound detection mechanism is independent of cell swelling, and instead is suggestive of a mechanism by which cells sense changes in the transepithelial electrical potential generated by the transport of sodium and chloride ions across the skin. Consistent with this hypothesis, we show that electric fields directly applied within the skin are sufficient to initiate actin polarization and migration of basal cells in their native epithelial context in vivo, even overriding endogenous wound signaling. This suggests that, in order to mount a robust wound response, skin cells respond to both osmotic and electrical perturbations arising from tissue injury.
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