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Neuron. 1999 Mar;22(3):475-88.

F-Spondin, expressed in somite regions avoided by neural crest cells, mediates inhibition of distinct somite domains to neural crest migration.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.


Neural crest (NC) cells migrate exclusively into the rostral half of each sclerotome, where they avoid the dermomyotome and the paranotochordal sclerotome. F-spondin is expressed in these inhibitory regions and throughout the caudal halves. In vitro bioassays of NC spreading on substrates of rostral or caudal epithelial-half somites (RS or CS, respectively) revealed that NC cells adopt on RS a fibroblastic morphology, whereas on CS they fail to flatten. F-spondin inhibited flattening of NC cells on RS. Conversely, F-spondin antibodies prevented rounding up of NC cells on CS. Addition of F-spondin to trunk explants inhibited NC migration into the sclerotome, and treatment of embryos with anti-F-spondin antibodies yielded migration into otherwise inhibitory sites. Thus, somite-derived F-spondin is an inhibitory signal involved in patterning the segmental migration of NC cells and their topographical segregation within the RS.

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