Background: Mural cells are an essential perivascular cell population that associate with blood vessels and contribute to vascular stabilization and tone. In the embryonic zebrafish vasculature, pdgfrb and tagln are commonly used as markers for identifying pericytes and vascular smooth muscle cells. However, the overlapping and distinct expression patterns of these markers in tandem have not been fully described. Results: Here, we used the Tg(pdgfrb:Gal4FF; UAS:RFP) and Tg(tagln:NLS-EGFP) transgenic lines to identify single- and double-positive perivascular cell populations on the cranial, axial, and intersegmental vessels between 1 and 5 days postfertilization. From this comparative analysis, we discovered two novel regions of tagln-positive cell populations that have the potential to function as mural cell precursors. Specifically, we found that the hypochord—a reportedly transient structure—contributes to tagln-positive cells along the dorsal aorta. We also identified a unique mural cell progenitor population that resides along the midline between the neural tube and notochord and contributes to intersegmental vessel mural cell coverage. Conclusion: Together, our findings highlight the variability and versatility of tracking both pdgfrb and tagln expression in mural cells of the developing zebrafish embryo and reveal unexpected embryonic cell populations that express pdgfrb and tagln.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-541
Number of pages23
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • hypochord
  • mural cell progenitor
  • pericyte
  • perivascular cells
  • sclerotome
  • vSMC
  • zebrafish


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