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Genesis 2015 Feb 01;532:203-24. doi: 10.1002/dvg.22844.
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Early development of the neural plate: new roles for apoptosis and for one of its main effectors caspase-3.

Despite its tremendous complexity, the vertebrate nervous system emerges from a homogenous layer of neuroepithelial cells, the neural plate. Its formation relies on the time- and space-controlled progression of developmental programs. Apoptosis is a biological process that removes superfluous and potentially dangerous cells and is implemented through the activation of a molecular pathway conserved during evolution. Apoptosis and an unconventional function of one of its main effectors, caspase-3, contribute to the patterning and growth of the neuroepithelium. Little is known about the intrinsic and extrinsic cues controlling activities of the apoptotic machinery during development. The BarH-like (Barhl) proteins are homeodomain-containing transcription factors. The observations in Caenorhabditis elegans, Xenopus, and mice document that Barhl proteins act in cell survival and as cell type-specific regulators of a caspase-3 function that limits neural progenitor proliferation. In this review, we discuss the roles and regulatory modes of the apoptotic machinery in the development of the neural plate. We focus on the Barhl2, the Sonic Hedgehog, and the Wnt pathways and their activities in neural progenitor survival and proliferation.

PubMed ID: 25619400
Article link: Genesis

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: apaf1 axin2 bak1 barhl2 bax bcl2 bcl2l1 bid casp3.2 casp7 casp8 casp9 ccnb1.2 cdc25b cdh1 cdk1 cdkn1a cdkn1b ces3.7 chrd.1 csnk1a1 csnk1g2 ctnnb1 diablo dvl2 fadd gsk3b kif11 krt8.1 lrp5 mcl1 myc mycn nsg1 ptch1 shh smo sox3 tgfb1 tp53 tradd wnt3 wnt3a znrd2

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