Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Biol. 2006 Dec 15;300(2):656-69. Epub 2006 Sep 26.

Clonally cultured differentiated pigment cells can dedifferentiate and generate multipotent progenitors with self-renewing potential.

Author information

CNRS UPR 2197 Laboratoire DEPSN, Institut de Neurobiologie Alfred Fessard, Avenue de la Terrasse, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


The differentiation of a given cell should be irreversible in order to ensure cell-type-specific function and stability of resident tissue. However, under stimulation in vitro or during regeneration, differentiated cells may recover properties of immature cells. Yet the mechanisms whereby differentiated cells can change fate or reverse to precursor cells are poorly understood. We show here that neural crest (NC)-derived pigment cells that have differentiated in quail embryo, when isolated from the skin and clonally cultured in vitro, are able to generate glial and myofibroblastic cells. The phenotypic reprogramming involves dedifferentiation of dividing pigment cells into cells that re-express NC early marker genes Sox10, FoxD3, Pax3 and Slug. Single melanocytes generate multipotent progenitors able to self-renew along serial subcloning, thus exhibiting stem cell properties. The presence of endothelin 3 promotes the emergence and maintenance of multipotent progenitors in melanocyte progeny. These multipotent cells are heterogeneous with respect to marker identity, including pigmented cells and dedifferentiated cells that have reacquired expression of the early NC marker HNK1. These data provide evidence that, when removed from their niche and subjected to appropriate culture conditions, pigment cells are phenotypically unstable and can reverse to their NC-like ancestors endowed with self-renewal capacity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center