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Developmental Evolution of the Optic Region in the Cavefish Astyanax mexicanus

Abstract : Astyanax mexicanus is a fish species comprising two strikingly different morphotypes : the classical river-dwelling surface fish and the blind depigmented cavefish. These two morphs differ in many aspects in terms of sensorial modalities, physiology and behaviour. In the Evo-Devo approach, we try to link early developmental differences to later phenotypic modifications. Here we focus on the early modification of the hypothalamus and the eye of the cavefish. We show that early signalling modification of morphogens such as Shh or Fgfs lead to the modification of neuropeptidergic clusters in the hypothalamus via the neuronal fate-specifying transcription factors Lhx. More particularly, we show an increase in NPY and hypocretin cluster size. In turn, this increased hypocretin cluster size triggers a reduction of sleep in the cavefish larva.We also examine the embryonic eye of the cavefish which first develops before degenerating. This eye was previously reported to have a reduced ventral retina. We refine this description by studying the regionalisation of the cavefish optic cup and suggest that this reduction concerns more specifically the temporal retina. We also attempt a first description of the cavefish eye morphogenesis by live imaging on fluorescent transgenic lines. This description reveals a defect in the optic cup invagination of the cavefish. Overall, this work started deciphering the developmental evolution of the cavefish head.
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Lucie Devos. Developmental Evolution of the Optic Region in the Cavefish Astyanax mexicanus. Morphogenesis. Université Paris Saclay (COmUE), 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLS146⟩. ⟨tel-01968060⟩

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