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Science. 1990 Nov 16;250(4983):985-8.

Mesodermal control of neural cell identity: floor plate induction by the notochord.

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Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032.


The floor plate is a specialized group of midline neuroepithelial cells that appears to regulate cell differentiation and axonal growth in the developing vertebrate nervous system. A floor plate-specific chemoattractant was used as a marker to examine the role of the notochord in avian floor plate development. Expression of this chemoattractant in lateral cells of the neural plate and neural tube was induced by an ectopic notochord, and midline neural tube cells did not express the chemoattractant after removal of the notochord early in development. These results provide evidence that a local signal from the notochord induces the functional properties of the floor plate.

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