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Published June 20, 1997 | public
Journal Article

Immortalization and Controlled In Vitro Differentiation of Murine Multipotent Neural Crest Stem Cells


To isolate mouse neural crest stem cells, we have generated a rat monoclonal antibody to murine neurotrophin receptor (p75). We have immortalized p75+ murine neural crest cells by expression of v-myc, and have isolated several clonal cell lines. These lines can be maintained in an undifferentiated state, or induced to differentiate by changing the culture conditions. One of these cell lines, MONC-1, is capable of generating peripheral neurons, glia, and melanocytic cells. Importantly, most individual MONC-1 cells are multipotent when analyzed at clonal density. The neurons that differentiate under standard conditions have an autonomic-like phenotype, but under different conditions can express markers of other peripheral neuronal lineages. These lines therefore exhibit a similar differentiation potential as their normal counterparts. Furthermore, they can be genetically modified or generated from mice of different genetic backgrounds, providing a useful tool for molecular studies of neural crest development.

Additional Information

© 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Received 1 October 1996; accepted 6 February 1997. Article first published online: 7 Dec 1998. We thank Moses Chao and Julie Huber for providing bacterially expressed mouse p75; Susan Ou and the Caltech Monoclonal Antibody Facility for assistance in the preparation of rat monoclonal antibodies; Steve Padilla and Ling Wang for technical assistance, and members of the Anderson laboratory for helpful advice and discussions. This work was supported by NIH Grant NS-23476. D.J.A. is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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