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Dev Biol. 2004 Dec 1;276(1):16-30.

Signals derived from the underlying mesoderm are dispensable for zebrafish neural crest induction.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7420, USA.

Erratum in

  • Dev Biol. 2005 Mar 1;279(1):268-9.


Signals from the non-neural ectoderm, the neural ectoderm, and the underlying mesoderm have all been implicated in the induction of neural crest. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling in particular has an important role in this process; however, it is unclear whether this activity of BMP is due to its effects on patterning the underlying mesoderm, to its ability to establish a competent neural plate boundary zone, or to the direct specification of neural crest at intermediate levels of activity within a BMP gradient. We show neural crest induction occurs in zebrafish in the absence of involuted mesoderm, indicating that this tissue and signals derived from it are dispensable for the formation of neural crest. Dorsal-involuted mesoderm is a major source of secreted BMP antagonists, and the activity of BMP signaling is thought to depend on the presence of the opposing activity of these antagonists. We find that the three BMP antagonists known to be expressed during gastrulation in zebrafish, noggin1, follistatin, and chordin, are dispensable for neural crest induction. These results suggest that mechanisms for restricting the spatio-temporal pattern of BMP expression may compensate for the loss of secreted BMP antagonist activity in establishing dorso-ventral patterning, neural induction, and the neural crest.

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