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Dev Biol. 2001 May 1;233(1):22-37.

Wnt and BMP signaling govern lineage segregation of melanocytes in the avian embryo.

Author information

1
Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.

Abstract

Recent studies show that specification of some neural crest lineages occurs prior to or at the time of migration from the neural tube. We investigated what signaling events establish the melanocyte lineage, which has been shown to migrate from the trunk neural tube after the neuronal and glial lineages. Using in situ hybridization, we find that, although Wnts are expressed in the dorsal neural tube throughout the time when neural crest cells are migrating, the Wnt inhibitor cfrzb-1 is expressed in the neuronal and glial precursors and not in melanoblasts. This expression pattern suggests that Wnt signaling may be involved in specifying the melanocyte lineage. We further report that Wnt-3a-conditioned medium dramatically increases the number of pigment cells in quail neural crest cultures while decreasing the number of neurons and glial cells, without affecting proliferation. Conversely, BMP-4 is expressed in the dorsal neural tube throughout the time when neural crest cells are migrating, but is decreased coincident with the timing of melanoblast migration. This expression pattern suggests that BMP signaling may be involved in neural and glial cell differentiation or repression of melanogenesis. Purified BMP-4 reduces the number of pigment cells in culture while increasing the number of neurons and glial cells, also without affecting proliferation. Our data suggest that Wnt signaling specifies melanocytes at the expense of the neuronal and glial lineages, and further, that Wnt and BMP signaling have antagonistic functions in the specification of the trunk neural crest.

PMID:
11319855
DOI:
10.1006/dbio.2001.0222
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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