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Dev Cell. 2007 Jul;13(1):141-9.

Time of exposure to BMP signals plays a key role in the specification of the olfactory and lens placodes ex vivo.

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Umeå Center for Molecular Medicine, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden.


Spatial gradients of extracellular signals are implicated in the patterning of many different tissues. Much less is known, however, about how differences in time of exposure of progenitor cells to patterning signals can influence different cell fates. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signals are known to pattern embryonic ectoderm. The olfactory and lens placodes are ectodermal structures of the vertebrate head. By using an explant assay of placodal cell differentiation, we now provide evidence that BMP signals are required and sufficient to induce olfactory and lens placodal cells from progenitor cells located at the anterior neural plate border. We also provide evidence that time of exposure of these progenitor cells to BMP signals plays a key role in the differential specification of olfactory and lens placodal cells.

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