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Published October 1999 | Published
Journal Article Open

In vivo transplantation of mammalian neural crest cells into chick hosts reveals a new autonomic sublineage restriction


The study of mammalian neural crest development has been limited by the lack of an accessible system for in vivo transplantation of these cells. We have developed a novel transplantation system to study lineage restriction in the rodent neural crest. Migratory rat neural crest cells (NCCs), transplanted into chicken embryos, can differentiate into sensory, sympathetic, and parasympathetic neurons, as shown by the expression of neuronal subtype-specific and pan-neuronal markers, as well as into Schwann cells and satellite glia. In contrast, an immunopurified population of enteric neural precursors (ENPs) from the fetal gut can also generate neurons in all of these ganglia, but only expresses appropriate neuronal subtype markers in Remak's and associated pelvic parasympathetic ganglia. ENPs also appear restricted in the kinds of glia they can generate in comparison to NCCs. Thus ENPs have parasympathetic and presumably enteric capacities, but not sympathetic or sensory capacities. These results identify a new autonomic lineage restriction in the neural crest, and suggest that this restriction preceeds the choice between neuronal and glial fates.

Additional Information

© 1999 The Company of Biologists Limited. Accepted 9 July; published on WWW 7 September 1999. We would like to thank the following people for their guidance with various techniques: Li Ching Lo, for the isolation of ENPs; Marianne Bronner-Fraser, for making chimerae; Nirao Shah, for the isolation of NCCs, Rochelle Diamond and Patrick Coen, for FACS assistance; Andrew Groves, for the in situ protocol; Tetsuchiro Saito, for double label protocols; and Amy Greenwood, for Photoshop tips. Eric Turner and Tetsuchiro Saito kindly provided us cDNA for Brn3.0 and BarH4.1, respectively; we would also like to thank Jean-Francois Brunet and Christo Goridis for helpful discussions. Sherry Perez, Alice Pacquette, Kai Zinn, Marianne Bronner-Fraser and Andrew Groves made comments on this manuscript. Finally, we would like to thank an anonymous reviewer for the suggestion to assay for parasympathetic phenotypes. This research was supported by a grant from the NIH. D. J. A. is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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