Single-cell rna analysis identifies pre-migratory neural crest cells expressing markers of differentiated derivatives

Ezra Lencer, Rytis Prekeris, Kristin Bruk Artinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The neural crest is a migratory population of stem-like cells that contribute to multiple traits including the bones of the skull, peripheral nervous system, and pigment. How neural crest cells differentiate into diverse cell types is a fundamental question in the study of vertebrate biology. Here, we use single-cell RNA sequencing to characterize transcriptional changes associated with neural crest cell development in the zebrafish trunk during the early stages of migration. We show that neural crest cells are transcriptionally diverse and identify pre-migratory populations already expressing genes associated with differentiated derivatives, specifically in the xanthophore lineage. Further, we identify a population of Rohon-Beard neurons in the data. The data presented identify novel genetic markers for multiple trunk neural crest cell populations and Rohon-Beard neurons providing insight into previously uncharacterized genes critical for vertebrate development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere66078
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank members of the Prekeris and Artinger laboratories for their thoughtful comments on this project and help throughout. Special thanks to Dr. Lomeli Shull for help with cell dissociation and Dr. Kenneth Jones for help discussing bioinformatics analysis. This work was funded by R01 GM122768 to RP. EL was supported by National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (T32CA17468 and F32HD103406). EL, RP, and KA conceived of the study and wrote the manuscript. EL performed research and analyses.

Funding Information:
National Institute of General Medical SciencesGM122768 Rytis Prekeris, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentF32HD103406 Ezra Lencer, National Cancer InstituteT32CA17468 Ezra Lencer, The funders had no role in study design, data collection decision to submit the work for publication. and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© Lencer et al.


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