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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2006 Dec;18(6):698-703. Epub 2006 Oct 9.

Development of the neural crest: achieving specificity in regulatory pathways.

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  • 1University of Washington, Department of Biological Structure, Seattle, WA 98195-7420, USA. draible@u.washington.edu


Recent studies have revealed the signaling pathways and downstream effectors involved in the specification of the neural crest. Neural crest cells are generated from a zone at the neurectoderm border in response to Wnt and BMP signals. BMP signals are involved in establishing a competency zone at the border of the neurectoderm, while subsequent Wnt signals specify neural crest cells. Combinations of transcription factors, including pax and msx gene products, act downstream of these pathways to integrate signals and establish the neural crest. Mechanisms are emerging for how specificity is generated from reiterated signals and effectors.

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