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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011 Jan 04;1081:155-60. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1010740107.
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Reiterative AP2a activity controls sequential steps in the neural crest gene regulatory network.

de Crozé N , Maczkowiak F , Monsoro-Burq AH .

The neural crest (NC) emerges from combinatorial inductive events occurring within its progenitor domain, the neural border (NB). Several transcription factors act early at the NB, but the initiating molecular events remain elusive. Recent data from basal vertebrates suggest that ap2 might have been critical for NC emergence; however, the role of AP2 factors at the NB remains unclear. We show here that AP2a initiates NB patterning and is sufficient to elicit a NB-like pattern in neuralized ectoderm. In contrast, the other early regulators do not participate in ap2a initiation at the NB, but cooperate to further establish a robust NB pattern. The NC regulatory network uses a multistep cascade of secreted inducers and transcription factors, first at the NB and then within the NC progenitors. Here we report that AP2a acts at two distinct steps of this cascade. As the earliest known NB specifier, AP2a mediates Wnt signals to initiate the NB and activate pax3; as a NC specifier, AP2a regulates further NC development independent of and downstream of NB patterning. Our findings reconcile conflicting observations from various vertebrate organisms. AP2a provides a paradigm for the reiterated use of multifunctional molecules, thereby facilitating emergence of the NC in vertebrates.

PubMed ID: 21169220
PMC ID: PMC3017139
Article link: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: fgf2 fgfr4 foxd3 hes4 msx1 myc nog pax3 snai2 sox10 sox2 sox8 sox9 tfap2a zic1
Morpholinos: ctnnb1 MO1 fgf8 MO4 hes4 MO1 hes4 MO2 msx1 MO1 myc MO3 pax3 MO1 sox8 MO1 tfap2a MO1 zic1 MO1

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References [+] :
Arduini, Genetic ablation of neural crest cell diversification. 2009, Pubmed