Genetic control of cellular morphogenesis in Müller glia.
Charlton-Perkins M., Almeida AD., MacDonald RB., Harris WA.
Cell shape is critical for the proper function of every cell in every tissue in the body. This is especially true for the highly morphologically diverse neural and glia cells of the central nervous system. The molecular processes by which these, or indeed any, cells gain their particular cell-specific morphology remain largely unexplored. To identify the genes involved in the morphogenesis of the principal glial cell type in the vertebrate retina, the Müller glia (MG), we used genomic and CRISPR based strategies in zebrafish (Danio rerio). We identified 41 genes involved in various aspects of MG cell morphogenesis and revealed a striking concordance between the sequential steps of anatomical feature addition and the expression of cohorts of functionally related genes that regulate these steps. We noted that the many of the genes preferentially expressed in zebrafish MG showed conservation in glia across species suggesting evolutionarily conserved glial developmental pathways.