Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Development. 2004 Dec;131(24):6141-51. Epub 2004 Nov 17.

In vivo evidence for short- and long-range cell communication in cranial neural crest cells.

Author information

Stowers Institute for Medical Research, 1000 East 50th Street, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.


The proper assembly of craniofacial structures and the peripheral nervous system requires neural crest cells to emerge from the neural tube and navigate over long distances to the branchial arches. Cell and molecular studies have shed light on potential intrinsic and extrinsic cues, which, in combination, are thought to ensure the induction and specification of cranial neural crest cells. However, much less is known about how migrating neural crest cells interpret and integrate signals from the microenvironment and other neural crest cells to sort into and maintain the stereotypical pattern of three spatially segregated streams. Here, we explore the extent to which cranial neural crest cells use cell-to-cell and cell-environment interactions to pathfind. The cell membrane and cytoskeletal elements in chick premigratory neural crest cells were labeled in vivo. Three-dimensional reconstructions of migrating neural crest cells were then obtained using confocal static and time-lapse imaging. It was found that neural crest cells maintained nearly constant contact with other migrating neural crest cells, in addition to the microenvironment. Cells used lamellipodia or short, thin filopodia (1-2 microm wide) for local contacts (<20 microm). Non-local, long distance contact (up to 100 microm) was initiated by filopodia that extended and retracted, extended and tracked, or tethered two non-neighboring cells. Intriguingly, the cell-to-cell contacts often stimulated a cell to change direction in favor of a neighboring cell's trajectory. In summary, our results present in vivo evidence for local and long-range neural crest cell interactions, suggesting a possible role for these contacts in directional guidance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center