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Mapping of Neural Crest Pathways in Xenopus laevis Using Inter- and Intra-specific Cell Markers

Krotoski, Danuta M. and Fraser, Scott E. and Bronner-Fraser, Marianne (1988) Mapping of Neural Crest Pathways in Xenopus laevis Using Inter- and Intra-specific Cell Markers. Developmental Biology, 127 (1). pp. 119-132. ISSN 0012-1606. doi:10.1016/0012-1606(88)90194-7.

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This study examines the pathways of migration followed by neural crest cells in Xenopus embryos using two recently described cell marking techniques. The first is an interspecific chimera created by grafting Xenopus borealis cells into Xenopus laevis hosts. The cells of these closely related species can be distinguished by their nuclear dimorphism. The second type of marker is created by microinjection of lysinated dextrans into fertilized eggs which can then be used for intraspecific grafting. These recently developed fluorescent dyes are fixable and identifiable in both living and fixed embryos. After grafting labeled donor neural tubes into unlabeled host embryos, the distribution of neural crest cells at various stages after grafting was used to define the pathways of neural crest migration. To control for possible grafting artifacts, fluorescent lysinated dextran was injected into a single blastomere which gives rise to a large number of neural crest cells, thereby labeling the neural crest without grafting. By all three techniques, Xenopus neural crest cells were observed along two predominant pathways in the trunk. The majority of neural crest cells were observed along a “ventral” route, between the neural tube and somite, the notochord and somite, and along the dorsal mesentery. A second group of neural crest cells was observed “dorsally” where they populated the dorsal fin. A third minor “lateral” pathway was observed primarily in borealis/laevis chimerae and in blastomere-injected embryos; some neural crest cells were observed underneath the ectoderm lateral to the neural tube. Along the rostrocaudal axis, neural crest cells were not continuously distributed but were primarily located across from the caudal two-thirds of the somite. Fewer than 3% of the neural crest cells were observed across from the rostral third of each somite. When grafted to ventral locations, neural crest cells were not able to migrate dorsally but migrated laterally along the dorsal mesentery. Labeled neural crest cells gave rise to cells of the spinal, sympathetic, and enteric ganglia as well as to adrenal chromaffin cells, Schwann cells, pigment cells, mesenchymal cells of the dorsal fin, and some cells in the integuments and in the region of the pronephros. These results show that the neural crest migratory pathways in Xenopus differ from those in the avian embryo. In avians NC cells migrate as a closely associated sheet of cells while in Xenopus they migrate as individual cells. Both species exhibit a metamerism in the neural crest cell distribution pattern along the rostrocaudal axis. However, in chick embryos NC cells migrate through the rostral sclerotome of each somite and are never observed in the perinotochordal area.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Fraser, Scott E.0000-0002-5377-0223
Bronner-Fraser, Marianne0000-0003-4274-1862
Additional Information:© 1988 Academic Press, Inc. Accepted January 21, 1988. We thank Drs. Gabrielle Leblanc, Roberto Perris, and James Coulombe for helpful comments on the manuscript, Dr. Nancy O'Rourke for providing lysinated dextran embryos, and Dr. George V. Lauder, Jr., for help with statistical analyses. This work was supported by USPHS Grant HD15527 and NSF Grants BNS 8607760 and BNS 8608356. M.B.-F. is a Sloan Foundation Fellow.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)HD-15527
NSFBNS 8607760
NSFBNS 8608356
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160414-144014671
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Official Citation:Danuta M. Krotoski, Scott E. Fraser, Marianne Bronner-Fraser, Mapping of neural crest pathways in Xenopus laevis using inter- and intra-specific cell markers, Developmental Biology, Volume 127, Issue 1, 1988, Pages 119-132, ISSN 0012-1606, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:66185
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:14 Apr 2016 22:51
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:54

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