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Dev Biol. 2005 Jun 15;282(2):411-21.

Slit/Robo signaling is necessary to confine early neural crest cells to the ventral migratory pathway in the trunk.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1115, BRB II/III, 421 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Neural crest cells migrate along two discrete pathways within the trunk of developing embryos. In the chick, early migrating crest cells are confined to a ventral pathway medial to the dermamyotome while later cells migrate on a dorsal pathway lateral to the dermamyotome. Here we show that Slits are expressed in the dermamyotome, that early migrating crest cells express the Slit receptors Robo 1 and Robo 2, that Slit2 repels migrating crest cells in an in vitro assay, and that the misexpression of a dominant-negative Robo1 receptor induces a significant fraction of early crest cells to migrate ectopically in the dorso-lateral pathway. These findings suggest that Slits, most likely those expressed in the dermamyotome, help to confine the migration of early crest cells to the ventral pathway.

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