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Development. 1999 May;126(10):2181-9.

Evidence for collapsin-1 functioning in the control of neural crest migration in both trunk and hindbrain regions.

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Molecular Neurobiology Group, GKT School of Medicine, King's College, London Bridge, London SE1 9RT, UK.


Collapsin-1 belongs to the Semaphorin family of molecules, several members of which have been implicated in the co-ordination of axon growth and guidance. Collapsin-1 can function as a selective chemorepellent for sensory neurons, however, its early expression within the somites and the cranial neural tube (Shepherd, I., Luo, Y. , Raper, J. A. and Chang, S. (1996) Dev. Biol. 173, 185-199) suggest that it might contribute to the control of additional developmental processes in the chick. We now report a detailed study on the expression of collapsin-1 as well as on the distribution of collapsin-1-binding sites in regions where neural crest cell migration occurs. collapsin-1 expression is detected in regions bordering neural crest migration pathways in both the trunk and hindbrain regions and a receptor for collapsin-1, neuropilin-1, is expressed by migrating crest cells derived from both regions. When added to crest cells in vitro, a collapsin-1-Fc chimeric protein induces morphological changes similar to those seen in neuronal growth cones. In order to test the function of collapsin-1 on the migration of neural crest cells, an in vitro assay was used in which collapsin-1-Fc was immobilised in alternating stripes consisting of collapsin-Fc/fibronectin versus fibronectin alone. Explanted neural crest cells derived from both trunk and hindbrain regions avoided the collapsin-Fc-containing substratum. These results suggest that collapsin-1 signalling can contribute to the patterning of neural crest cell migration in the developing chick.

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