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Mech Dev. 1996 Dec;60(2):207-20.

Involvement of Livertine, a hepatocyte growth factor family member, in neural morphogenesis.

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Developmental Genetics Program, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York, NY, USA.


The formulation of the nervous system in vertebrate embryos involves extensive morphogenetic movements that include the folding of the neural tube and the migration of neural crest cells. Changes in cell shape and cell movements underlie neural morphogenesis but the molecular mechanisms involved in these processes in vivo are not well understood. Here, we show that a new member of the hepatocyte growth factor family, which we name Livertine, is expressed in frog embryos in neural cells including neural crest and midline neural plate cells which are undergoing pronounced morphogenetic movements. The ectopic expression of Livertine perturbs gastrulation and leads to positional changes in injected cells without apparently changing cell type. These results suggest that one of the normal functions of Livertine is the control of neural morphogenesis in the vertebrate embryo.

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