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Crypt cells are involved in kin recognition in larval zebrafish

Sci Rep 6:24590. doi: 10.1038/srep24590.

Authors/Editors: Biechl D
Tietje K
Gerlach G
Wullimann MF
Publication Date: 2016
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2017

Abstract

Zebrafish larvae imprint on visual and olfactory kin cues at day 5 and 6 postfertilization, respectively, resulting in kin recognition later in life. Exposure to non-kin cues prevents imprinting and kin recognition. Imprinting depends on MHC class II related signals and only larvae sharing MHC class II alleles can imprint on each other. Here, we analyzed which type of olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) detects kin odor. The single teleost olfactory epithelium harbors ciliated OSNs carrying OR and TAAR gene family receptors (mammals: main olfactory epithelium) and microvillous OSNs with V1R and V2R gene family receptors (mammals: vomeronasal organ). Additionally, teleosts exhibit crypt cells which possess microvilli and cilia. We used the activity marker pERK (phosphorylated extracellular signal regulated kinase) after stimulating 9 day old zebrafish larvae with either non-kin conspecific or food odor. While food odor activated both ciliated and microvillous OSNs, only the latter were activated by conspecific odor, crypt cells showed no activation to both stimuli. Then, we tested imprinted and non-imprinted larvae (full siblings) for kin odor detection. We provide the first direct evidence that crypt cells, and likely a subpopulation of microvillous OSNs, but not ciliated OSNs, play a role in detecting a kin odor related signal.

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