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Dev Biol. 2006 May 1;293(1):53-63. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

Clonal origin of the mammalian forebrain from widespread oriented mixing of early regionalized neuroepithelium precursors.

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  • 1Unité de Biologie Moléculaire du Développement, CNRS URA 1947, Institut Pasteur, 25, rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.


The forebrain is formed by remodeling and growth of the anterior neural plate. This morphogenesis occurs in response to inductive signals during gastrulation and neurulation but is poorly understood at the cellular level. Here, we have used the LaacZ method of single cells labeling to visualize, at E12.5, clones originated at early stages of mouse forebrain development. The largest clones show that single progenitors can give rise to neuroepithelial cells dispersed across the forebrain. A significant fraction of the clones, and even relatively small ones, populated both the diencephalon and the telencephalon, indicating that the clonal separation between diencephalic and telencephalic progenitors is transient and/or partial. However, two groups of large clones, populating either the diencephalon or the telencephalon, dispersed within their respective domains, suggesting an early regionalization between some diencephalic and telencephalic progenitors. Widespread oriented mixing within these territories and then clonal expansion into smaller domains probably follow this initial regionalization. These data are consistent with a model of progressive specification of forebrain domains. We propose that the ordered expansion of early regionalized progenitor pools for the diencephalon and telencephalon could establish a potential link between early inductive signals and forebrain morphogenesis.

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