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Development 2003 Jul 01;13014:3111-24. doi: 10.1242/dev.00531.
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Neural crest induction by paraxial mesoderm in Xenopus embryos requires FGF signals.

Monsoro-Burq AH , Fletcher RB , Harland RM .

At the border of the neural plate, the induction of the neural crest can be achieved by interactions with the epidermis, or with the underlying mesoderm. Wnt signals are required for the inducing activity of the epidermis in chick and amphibian embryos. Here, we analyze the molecular mechanisms of neural crest induction by the mesoderm in Xenopus embryos. Using a recombination assay, we show that prospective paraxial mesoderm induces a panel of neural crest markers (Slug, FoxD3, Zic5 and Sox9), whereas the future axial mesoderm only induces a subset of these genes. This induction is blocked by a dominant negative (dn) form of FGFR1. However, neither dnFGFR4a nor inhibition of Wnt signaling prevents neural crest induction in this system. Among the FGFs, FGF8 is strongly expressed by the paraxial mesoderm. FGF8 is sufficient to induce the neural crest markers FoxD3, Sox9 and Zic5 transiently in the animal cap assay. In vivo, FGF8 injections also expand the Slug expression domain. This suggests that FGF8 can initiate neural crest formation and cooperates with other DLMZ-derived factors to maintain and complete neural crest induction. In contrast to Wnts, eFGF or bFGF, FGF8 elicits neural crest induction in the absence of mesoderm induction and without a requirement for BMP antagonists. In vivo, it is difficult to dissociate the roles of FGF and WNT factors in mesoderm induction and neural patterning. We show that, in most cases, effects on neural crest formation were parallel to altered mesoderm or neural development. However, neural and neural crest patterning can be dissociated experimentally using different dominant-negative manipulations: while Nfz8 blocks both posterior neural plate formation and neural crest formation, dnFGFR4a blocks neural patterning without blocking neural crest formation. These results suggest that different signal transduction mechanisms may be used in neural crest induction, and anteroposterior neural patterning.

PubMed ID: 12783784
Article link: Development

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: acta4 ctsl dvl1 egr2 fgf2 fgf3 fgf4 fgf8 fgfr1 foxd3 gsk3b myod1 otx2 snai1 snai2 sox9 twist1 wnt8a zic5
Antibodies: Somite Ab1

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