Induction of the neural crest state: control of stem cell attributes by gene regulatory, post-transcriptional and epigenetic interactions.
Neural crest cells are a population of multipotent stem cell-like progenitors that arise at the neural plate border in vertebrates, migrate extensively, and give rise to diverse derivatives such as melanocytes, craniofacial cartilage and bone, smooth muscle, peripheral and enteric neurons and glia. The neural crest gene regulatory network (NC-GRN) includes a number of key factors that are used reiteratively to control multiple steps in the development of neural crest cells, including the acquisition of stem cell attributes. It is therefore essential to understand the mechanisms that control the distinct functions of such reiteratively used factors in different cellular contexts. The context-dependent control of neural crest specification is achieved through combinatorial interaction with other factors, post-transcriptional and post-translational modifications, and the epigenetic status and chromatin state of target genes. Here we review the current understanding of the NC-GRN, including the role of the neural crest specifiers, their links to the control of "stemness," and their dynamic context-dependent regulation during the formation of neural crest progenitors.
PubMed ID: 22583479
PMC ID: PMC3354335
Article link: Dev Biol.
Grant support: R01CA114058 NCI NIH HHS , R01GM077288 NIGMS NIH HHS , R21DE022150 NIDCR NIH HHS
Genes referenced: bmp4 cad cdh1 cdh2 dlx5 ets1 foxd3 gbx2.1 grn hes4 msx1 msx2 pax3 pax7 smad1 snai1 snai2 sox10 sox3 sox5 sox9 twist1 zic1