Continuous addition of progenitors forms the cardiac ventricle in zebrafish


  • A. Felker
  • K.D. Prummel
  • A.M. Merks
  • M. Mickoleit
  • E.C. Brombacher
  • J. Huisken
  • D. Panáková
  • C. Mosimann


  • Nature Communications


  • Nat Commun 9 (1): 2001


  • The vertebrate heart develops from several progenitor lineages. After early-differentiating first heart field (FHF) progenitors form the linear heart tube, late-differentiating second heart field (SHF) progenitors extend the atrium and ventricle, and form inflow and outflow tracts (IFT/OFT). However, the position and migration of late-differentiating progenitors during heart formation remains unclear. Here, we track zebrafish heart development using transgenics based on the cardiopharyngeal gene tbx1. Live imaging uncovers a tbx1 reporter-expressing cell sheath that continuously disseminates from the lateral plate mesoderm towards the forming heart tube. High-speed imaging and optogenetic lineage tracing corroborates that the zebrafish ventricle forms through continuous addition from the undifferentiated progenitor sheath followed by late-phase accrual of the bulbus arteriosus (BA). FGF inhibition during sheath migration reduces ventricle size and abolishes BA formation, refining the window of FGF action during OFT formation. Our findings consolidate previous end-point analyses and establish zebrafish ventricle formation as a continuous process.