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Dev Biol. 2003 Jul 1;259(1):162-75.

The endothelin receptor-B is required for the migration of neural crest-derived melanocyte and enteric neuron precursors.

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  • 1Cell and Developmental Biology Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.


Mutations in the genes encoding endothelin receptor-B (Ednrb) and its ligand endothelin-3 (Edn3) affect the development of two neural crest-derived cell types, melanocytes and enteric neurons. EDNRB signaling is exclusively required between E10.5 and E12.5 during the migratory phase of melanoblast and enteric neuroblast development. To determine the fate of Ednrb-expressing cells during this critical period, we generated a strain of mice with the bacterial beta-galactosidase (lacZ) gene inserted downstream of the endogenous Ednrb promoter. The expression of the lacZ gene was detected in melanoblasts and precursors of the enteric neuron system (ENS), as well as other neural crest cells and nonneural crest-derived lineages. By comparing Ednrb(lacZ)/+ and Ednrb(lacZ)/Ednrb(lacZ) embryos, we determined that the Ednrb pathway is not required for the initial specification and dispersal of melanoblasts and ENS precursors from the neural crest progenitors. Rather, the EDNRB-mediated signaling is required for the terminal migration of melanoblasts and ENS precursors, and this pathway is not required for the survival of the migratory cells.

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