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Mechanisms controlling cell adhesion and motility in zebrafish stem cell proliferation zones

Project Summary

Migration of progenitor cells out of defined stem cell proliferation zones provides a paradigm for cells leaving a tightly controlled adhesion environment to invade adjacent tissues. Similar processes occur in development and cancer metastasis. In the zebrafish larva, the thalamic neural proliferation zone combines active proliferation, directional migration of progenitors, and excellent optical accessibility for imaging of cell behavior. In this project, we will study mechanisms that control cell adhesion of the epithelial long-term neural stem cells, and migration of stem and progenitor cells to exit the proliferation zone. Mutations in factors that control stem cells, early progenitor, and late progenitor identify are available to block progression, and fluorescently tagged lines to visualize cell behavior and migration from stem cell to late progenitors. Single cell transcriptome analyses of these cell populations will be used to identify molecular control of adhesion and migration. Roles of specific adhesion proteins will be assessed using loss- and gain-of-function experiments. Our findings will help to understand the transition between stem cells in their niches, and migrating progenitors.