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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Sep 3;93(18):9645-50.

Endothelin-B receptor is expressed by neural crest cells in the avian embryo.

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Institut d'Embryologie Cellulaire et Mol├ęculaire du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Nogent-sur-Marne, France.


Disruptions of the genes encoding endothelin 3 (EDN3) and its receptor endothelin-B receptor (EDNRB) in the mouse result in defects of two neural crest (NC)-derived lineages, the melanocytes, and the enteric nervous system. To assess the mechanisms through which the EDN3/EDNRB signaling pathway can selectively act on these NC derivatives, we have studied the spatiotemporal expression pattern of the EDNRB gene in the avian embryo, a model in which NC development has been extensively studied. For this purpose, we have cloned the quail homologue of the mammalian EDNRB cDNA. EDNRB transcripts are present in NC cells before and during their emigration from the neural tube at all levels of the neuraxis. At later developmental stages, the receptor remains abundantly expressed in the peripheral nervous system including the enteric nervous system. In a previous study, we have shown that EDN3 enhances dramatically the proliferation of NC cells when they are at the pluripotent stage. We propose that the selective effect of EDN3 or EDNRB gene inactivation is due to the fact that both melanocytes and enteric nervous system precursors have to colonize large embryonic areas (skin and bowel) from a relatively small population of precursors that have to expand considerably in number. It is therefore understandable that a deficit in one of the growth-promoting pathways of NC cells has more deleterious effects on long-range migrating cells than on the NC derivatives which develop close to the neural primordium like the sensory and sympathetic ganglia.

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