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Dev Biol. May 1, 1988; 127 (1): 119-32.

Mapping of neural crest pathways in Xenopus laevis using inter- and intra-specific cell markers.

Krotoski DM , Fraser SE , Bronner-Fraser M .

This study examines the pathways of migration followed by neural crest cells in Xenopus embryos using two recently described cell marking techniques. The first is an interspecific chimera created by grafting Xenopus borealis cells into Xenopus laevis hosts. The cells of these closely related species can be distinguished by their nuclear dimorphism. The second type of marker is created by microinjection of lysinated dextrans into fertilized eggs which can then be used for intraspecific grafting. These recently developed fluorescent dyes are fixable and identifiable in both living and fixed embryos. After grafting labeled donor neural tubes into unlabeled host embryos, the distribution of neural crest cells at various stages after grafting was used to define the pathways of neural crest migration. To control for possible grafting artifacts, fluorescent lysinated dextran was injected into a single blastomere which gives rise to a large number of neural crest cells, thereby labeling the neural crest without grafting. By all three techniques, Xenopus neural crest cells were observed along two predominant pathways in the trunk. The majority of neural crest cells were observed along a "ventral" route, between the neural tube and somite, the notochord and somite, and along the dorsal mesentery. A second group of neural crest cells was observed "dorsally" where they populated the dorsal fin. A third minor "lateral" pathway was observed primarily in borealis/laevis chimerae and in blastomere-injected embryos; some neural crest cells were observed underneath the ectoderm lateral to the neural tube. Along the rostrocaudal axis, neural crest cells were not continuously distributed but were primarily located across from the caudal two-thirds of the somite. Fewer than 3% of the neural crest cells were observed across from the rostral third of each somite. When grafted to ventral locations, neural crest cells were not able to migrate dorsally but migrated laterally along the dorsal mesentery. Labeled neural crest cells gave rise to cells of the spinal, sympathetic, and enteric ganglia as well as to adrenal chromaffin cells, Schwann cells, pigment cells, mesenchymal cells of the dorsal fin, and some cells in the integuments and in the region of the pronephros. These results show that the neural crest migratory pathways in Xenopus differ from those in the avian embryo. In avians NC cells migrate as a closely associated sheet of cells while in Xenopus they migrate as individual cells. Both species exhibit a metamerism in the neural crest cell distribution pattern along the rostrocaudal axis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

PubMed ID: 2452101
Article link: Dev Biol.
Grant support: HD15527 NICHD NIH HHS

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