Tuesday, March 16 at 11:00am to 12:00pm
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Abstract: Cranial neural crest cells are a vertebrate-specific population that generate a huge diversity of derivatives, including the bulk of the connective and skeletal tissues forming the head. How neural crest cells generate the appropriate cell types for distinct embryonic regions and change over the lifetime of an individual to support growth and maintenance remain unresolved. Here we profile RNA expression and chromatin accessibility of the zebrafish cranial neural crest lineage at single-cell resolution from embryos to adults. By tracing the transition from regional patterning to mesenchymal subtype diversification across seven stages of the zebrafish lifetime, we uncover an early divergence of skeletogenic progenitors from specialized fibroblasts, including a novel dermal population linked to tyrosine and phenylalanine metabolism. We also uncover a distinct lineage program in the gill region that generates derivatives specialized for respiration, including a distinct type of cartilage. This late-arising gill-specific respiratory program is prefigured by unique chromatin accessibility in the posterior pharyngeal arches, which is linked to a GATA factor-driven regulatory circuit. This atlas of cranial neural crest ontogeny across a vertebrate lifetime reveals early differences in chromatin accessibility that prefigure successive waves of region-specific differentiation.
Host: Andy McMahon