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Genesis. 2018 Sep;56(9):e23239. doi: 10.1002/dvg.23239. Epub 2018 Aug 21.

A chemotactic model of trunk neural crest cell migration.

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Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom, CV4 7AL.
School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK, CV4 7AL.
Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, Missouri.
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kansas.


Trunk neural crest cells follow a common ventral migratory pathway but are distributed into two distinct locations to form discrete sympathetic and dorsal root ganglia along the vertebrate axis. Although fluorescent cell labeling and time-lapse studies have recorded complex trunk neural crest cell migratory behaviors, the signals that underlie this dynamic patterning remain unclear. The absence of molecular information has led to a number of mechanistic hypotheses for trunk neural crest cell migration. Here, we review recent data in support of three distinct mechanisms of trunk neural crest cell migration and develop and simulate a computational model based on chemotactic signaling. We show that by integrating the timing and spatial location of multiple chemotactic signals, trunk neural crest cells may be accurately positioned into two distinct targets that correspond to the sympathetic and dorsal root ganglia. In doing so, we honor the contributions of Wilhelm His to his identification of the neural crest and extend the observations of His and others to better understand a complex question in neural crest cell biology.


Chemotaxis, mathematical model, migration, neural crest, trunk, Wilhelm his


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