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Dev Biol. 2010 Aug 15;344(2):896-910. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.06.006. Epub 2010 Jun 11.

Novel insight into the function and regulation of alphaN-catenin by Snail2 during chick neural crest cell migration.

Author information

1
Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.

Abstract

The neural crest is a transient population of migratory cells that differentiates to form a variety of cell types in the vertebrate embryo, including melanocytes, the craniofacial skeleton, and portions of the peripheral nervous system. These cells initially exist as adherent epithelial cells in the dorsal aspect of the neural tube and only later become migratory after an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Snail2 plays a critical role in mediating chick neural crest cell EMT and migration due to its expression by both premigratory and migratory cranial neural crest cells and its ability to down-regulate intercellular junctions components. In an attempt to delineate the role of cellular junction components in the neural crest, we have identified the adherens junction molecule neural alpha-catenin (alphaN-catenin) as a Snail2 target gene whose repression is critical for chick neural crest cell migration. Knock-down and overexpression of alphaN-catenin enhances and inhibits neural crest cell migration, respectively. Furthermore, our results reveal that alphaN-catenin regulates the appropriate movement of neural crest cells away from the neural tube into the embryo. Collectively, our data point to a novel function of an adherens junction protein in facilitating the proper migration of neural crest cells during the development of the vertebrate embryo.

PMID:
20542025
PMCID:
PMC2914159
DOI:
10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.06.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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