Pulgar E., Schwayer C., Guerrero N., López L., Márquez S, Härtel S., Soto R., Heisenberg CP. And ML Concha

The developmental strategies used by progenitor cells to endure a safe journey from their induction place towards the site of terminal differentiation are still poorly understood. Here we uncovered a progenitor cell allocation mechanism that stems from an incomplete process of epithelial delamination that allows progenitors to coordinate their movement with adjacent extra-embryonic tissues. Progenitors of the zebrafish laterality organ originate from the surface epithelial enveloping layer by an apical constriction process of cell delamination. During this process, progenitors retain long-term apical contacts that enable the epithelial layer to pull a subset of progenitors along their way towards the vegetal pole. The remaining delaminated progenitors follow apically-attached progenitors’ movement by a co-attraction mechanism, avoiding sequestration by the adjacent endoderm, ensuring their fate and collective allocation at the differentiation site. Thus, we reveal that incomplete delamination serves as a cellular platform for coordinated tissue movements during development.