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Dev Biol. 1992 Feb;149(2):295-306.

Identification of early neurogenic cells in the neural crest lineage.

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Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene 97403.


Pluripotent neural crest cells are restricted progressively during development. The sequence of restrictions and the time(s) in early development at which such restrictions are imposed on crest-derived cells are largely unknown. We have used a human autoantibody (Anti-Hu) to characterize neurogenic populations of avian neural crest-derived cells. Anti-Hu binds specifically to neurons and neuroendocrine cells in older (greater than E4) quail embryos. Early in development, Anti-Hu also binds a subpopulation of neural crest-derived cells that lack neuronal morphology and do not express other neuronal traits. These cells may represent a putative neurogenic precursor subpopulation within the early crest cell lineage. To test this hypothesis, we have characterized Anti-Hu immunoreactivity within crest-derived populations known to have, or to lack, the ability to give rise to new neurons. We report that the presence of Anti-Hu+ nonneuronal cells is correlated with the neurogenic ability of a given cell population. Moreover, Anti-Hu+ nonneuronal cells are transient and appear to be replaced by Anti-Hu+ neuronal cells. We conclude that Anti-Hu is a very early indicator of neurogenesis among crest-derived cells and that Anti-Hu+ nonneuronal cells are either neurogenic precursors or immature neurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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