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J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1983 Apr;74:97-118.

An SEM analysis of neural crest migration in the mouse.


The cellular morphology and migratory pathways of the trunk neural crest are described in normal mouse embryos, and in embryos homozygous for Patch in which neural crest derivatives develop abnormally. Trunk neural crest cells initially appear in 8 1/2-day embryos as a unique cell population on the dorsal neural tube surface and are relatively rounded. Once they begin to migrate the cells flatten and orient somewhat tangentially to the neural tube, and advance ventrad between the somites and neural tube. At the onset of migration neural crest cells extend lamellipodia onto the surface of the tube while detaching their trailing processes from the lumenal surface. The basal lamina on the dorsal neural tube is discontinuous when cell migration begins in this region. As development proceeds, the basal lamina gradually becomes continuous from a lateral to dorsal direction and neural crest emigration is progressively confined to the narrowing region of discontinuous basal lamina. Cell separation from the neural tube ceases concomitant with completion of a continuous basement membrane. Preliminary observations of the mutant embryos reveal that abnormal extracellular spaces appear and patterns of crest migration are subsequently altered. We conclude that the extracellular matrix, extracellular spaces and basement membranes may delimit crest migration in the mouse.

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