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Sci Rep 2019 Aug 01;91:11191. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47665-9.
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A new transgenic reporter line reveals Wnt-dependent Snai2 re-expression and cranial neural crest differentiation in Xenopus.

Li J , Perfetto M , Materna C , Li R , Thi Tran H , Vleminckx K , Duncan MK , Wei S .

During vertebrate embryogenesis, the cranial neural crest (CNC) forms at the neural plate border and subsequently migrates and differentiates into many types of cells. The transcription factor Snai2, which is induced by canonical Wnt signaling to be expressed in the early CNC, is pivotal for CNC induction and migration in Xenopus. However, snai2 expression is silenced during CNC migration, and its roles at later developmental stages remain unclear. We generated a transgenic X. tropicalis line that expresses enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) driven by the snai2 promoter/enhancer, and observed eGFP expression not only in the pre-migratory and migrating CNC, but also the differentiating CNC. This transgenic line can be used directly to detect deficiencies in CNC development at various stages, including subtle perturbation of CNC differentiation. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry confirm that Snai2 is re-expressed in the differentiating CNC. Using a separate transgenic Wnt reporter line, we show that canonical Wnt signaling is also active in the differentiating CNC. Blocking Wnt signaling shortly after CNC migration causes reduced snai2 expression and impaired differentiation of CNC-derived head cartilage structures. These results suggest that Wnt signaling is required for snai2 re-expression and CNC differentiation.

PubMed ID: 31371771
PMC ID: PMC6672020
Article link: Sci Rep
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: adam13 pax3 snai2 sox10 sox9 twist1 uqcc6
GO keywords: neural crest cell differentiation

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Aguillon, Cell-type heterogeneity in the early zebrafish olfactory epithelium is generated from progenitors within preplacodal ectoderm. 2018, Pubmed