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The α_4 Subunit of Integrin Is Important for Neural Crest Cell Migration

Kil, Sung H. and Krull, Catherine E. and Cann, Gordon and Clegg, Dennis and Bronner-Fraser, Marianne (1998) The α_4 Subunit of Integrin Is Important for Neural Crest Cell Migration. Developmental Biology, 202 (1). pp. 29-42. ISSN 0012-1606. doi:10.1006/dbio.1998.8985.

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We identify the α_4 subunit of integrin as a predominant integrin expressed by neural crest cells in both avian and murine embryos. Using degenerate primers, we obtained a PCR fragment of the chick integrin α_4 subunit that was subsequently used to clone the full-length subunit with a predicted amino acid sequence 60% identical to human and mouse α_4 subunits.In situhybridization demonstrates that chick integrin α_4 mRNA is expressed at high levels by migrating neural crest cells and neural crest-derived ganglia at both cranial and trunk levels. An antibody against the murine α_4 subunit revealed similar distribution patterns in mouse to chick. In addition to neural crest cells, the integrin α_4 subunit was later observed on the muscle masses of the limb, the apical ectodermal ridge, and the developing liver. To examine the functional role of the integrin α_4 subunit in neural crest cell migration, we used an explant preparation that allows visualization of neural crest cells in their normal environment with or without perturbing reagents. In the presence of a blocking antibody against the mouse integrin α_4 subunit, there was a profound abrogation of neural crest cell migration at trunk and hindbrain levels. Both the numbers of migrating neural crest cells and the total distance traversed were markedly reduced. Similarly, avian embryos injected with synthetic peptides that contain the integrin α_4 binding site in fibronectin displayed abnormal neural crest cell migration. Our results suggest that the integrin α_4 subunit is important for normal neural crest cell migration and may be one of the primary α subunits used for neural crest cell migrationin vivo.Furthermore, the integrin α_4 subunit represents a useful neural crest marker in the mouse.

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Bronner-Fraser, Marianne0000-0003-4274-1862
Additional Information:© 1998 Academic Press. Received for publication April 20, 1998. Revised June 11, 1998. Accepted June 12, 1998. Available online 15 April 2002. We thank Drs. Arthur Lander, Diane O’Dowd, Ben Murray, and Martin Garcia-Castro for critical comments on the manuscript and constructive discussion during the course of this work. This study was supported by USPHS HD15527 and a grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation to M.B.F.
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U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)HD15527
Muscular Dystrophy FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160322-120549369
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Official Citation:Sung H. Kil, Catherine E. Krull, Gordon Cann, Dennis Clegg, Marianne Bronner-Fraser, The α4 Subunit of Integrin Is Important for Neural Crest Cell Migration, Developmental Biology, Volume 202, Issue 1, 1 October 1998, Pages 29-42, ISSN 0012-1606, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:65595
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:22 Mar 2016 20:52
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:47

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