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Development. 2012 Mar;139(5):1034-44. doi: 10.1242/dev.067934.

Sharpening of the anterior neural border in the chick by rostral endoderm signalling.

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  • 1Department of Human Anatomy and Psychobiology, University of Murcia, School of Medicine, Murcia, Spain.


The anterior border of the neural plate, presumed to contain the prospective peripheral portion (roof) of the prospective telencephalon, emerges within a vaguely defined proneural ectodermal region. Fate maps carried out at HH4 in the chick reveal that this region still produces indistinctly neural, placodal and non-neural derivatives; it does not express neural markers. We examined how the definitive anterior border domain of the rostral forebrain becomes established and comes to display a neural molecular profile, whereas local non-neural derivatives become separated. The process, interpreted as a border sharpening mechanism via intercalatory cell movements, was studied using fate mapping, time-lapse microscopy and in situ hybridization. Separation of neural and non-neural domains proceeds along stages HH4-HH4+, is well advanced at HH5, and is accompanied by a novel dorsoventral intercalation, oriented orthogonal to the border, that distributes transitional cells into molecularly distinct neural and non-neural fields. Meanwhile, neuroectodermal Sox2 expression spreads peripherally from the neighbourhood of the node, reaching the nascent anterior border domain at HH5. We also show that concurrent signals from the endodermal layer are necessary to position and sharpen the neural border, and suggest that FGF8 might be a component of this signalling.

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