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Development. 2001 Oct;128(19):3707-16.

Initiation of facial motoneurone migration is dependent on rhombomeres 5 and 6.

Author information

  • MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King's College London, Guy's Campus, London SE1 1UL, UK. studer@tigem.it


In mammals, facial branchiomotor (FBM) neurones are born in ventral rhombomere (r) 4 and migrate through r5 to dorsal r6 where they form the facial motor nucleus. This pattern of migration gives rise to the distinctive appearance of the internal genu of the facial nerve, which is lacking in birds. To distinguish between extrinsic cues and intrinsic factors in the caudal migration of FBM neurones, this study takes advantage of the evolutionary migratory difference between mouse and chick in generating mouse-chick chimaeras in ovo. After the homotopic transplantation of mouse r5 and/or r6 into a chick embryo, chick ventral r4 neurones redirected their cell bodies towards the ectopic mouse source and followed a caudal migratory path, reminiscent of mouse FBM neurones. In a second series of grafting experiments, when mouse r4 was transplanted in place of chick r4, mouse r4 neurones were unable to migrate into chick r5, although mouse and chick cells were able to mix freely within r4. Thus, these data suggest that local environmental cues embedded in mouse r5 and r6 are directly involved in initiating caudal migration of FBM neurones. In addition, they demonstrate that chick FBM neurones are competent to recapitulate a migratory behaviour that has been lost during avian phylogeny.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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