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Dev Biol. 2003 Jul 15;259(2):288-302.

Neural crest motility and integrin regulation are distinct in cranial and trunk populations.

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Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah, School of Medicine, 20 North 1900 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84132-3401, USA.

Erratum in

  • Dev Biol. 2004 Jan 1;265(1):292.


The neural crest is a transient cell population that travels long distances through the embryo to form a wide range of derivatives. The extensive migration of the neural crest is highly unusual and incompletely understood. We examined the ability of neural crest cells (NCCs) to migrate under different conditions in vitro. Unlike most motile cell types, avian NCCs migrate efficiently on a wide range of fibronectin concentrations. Strikingly, the migration of NCCs on laminin depends on the axial level from which the crest is derived. On high concentrations of laminin, cranial NCCs migrate at approximately twice the rate of trunk NCCs and show greater persistence, a higher percentage of migratory cells, and a less organized cytoskeleton. The difference in migration between cranial and trunk neural crest is not due to transcriptional differences in integrin mRNA, but rather to differences in posttranslational regulation. Overexpression of a single integrin is sufficient to significantly slow the migration velocity of cranial neural crest cultured on high laminin densities. These results demonstrate that neural crest cells accommodate a wide range of ECM concentrations in vitro and suggest that differences in integrin regulation along the anterior-posterior axis may contribute to differences in neural crest migration and cell fate.

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