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Dev Dyn. 2005 Jun;233(2):430-44.

Sox10 overexpression induces neural crest-like cells from all dorsoventral levels of the neural tube but inhibits differentiation.

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Embryology Laboratory, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, and Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


SoxE genes (Sox8, Sox9, and Sox10) are early response genes to neural crest induction. Although the early role of Sox9 has been examined in chick and frog, later roles in neural crest migration and differentiation remain largely unexplored. We first examined which SoxE genes were expressed in trunk neural crest cells and then investigated their function using in ovo electroporation. The results of this analysis reveal that Sox10 is present in migrating neural crest cells, whereas other SoxE genes are only expressed transiently after induction. Ectopic expression of Sox10 in the neural tube at trunk level induced expression of HNK-1 in neuroepithelial cells followed by extensive emigration from all levels of the dorsoventral neuraxis, including the floor plate. Sox10-expressing cells failed to express neuronal, Schwann, or melanocyte markers up to 6 days posttransfection (E8), suggesting these cells were maintained in an undifferentiated state. Overexpression of Sox8 or Sox9 had similar but not identical effects on neuroepithelial cells. These results show that high levels of Sox10, Sox9, or Sox8 expression in the neural tube are capable of inducing a migratory neural crest-like phenotype even in the absence of dorsal signals and can maintain these cells in an undifferentiated state.

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