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Cell Mol Life Sci. 1997 Apr;53(4):319-38.

Neural induction and antero-posterior patterning in the amphibian embryo: past, present and future.

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Department of Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22903, USA.


Neural induction and patterning in competent ectoderm occurs during gastrula and early neurula stages in response to signals from dorsal mesoderm. The earliest views of antero-posterior (A-P) patterning were modified beginning in the 1930s, as complexities concerning the timing of the pattern-forming process and potential sources of the patterning signals were revealed. In the 1950s and 1960s several different models for A-P patterning were proposed, all of which, however, bear a number of similarities, including a two-component system for generating A-P axial information in the embryo. Early attempts to identify neural-inducing molecules were largely unsuccessful due to technical limitations in biochemical analyses and concerns about assaying neural responses. The advent of modern molecular genetic technology has permitted more precise tests of a number of classic observations about the timing of A-P patterning and the sources of patterning signals. While some early observations have been confirmed, a number of new concepts have emerged in recent years, particularly concerning the source of patterning signals in the embryo. Striking progress has been made in identifying putative neural-inducing molecules, and recent experiments have begun to suggest how these might contribute to A-P patterning. While the successes in recent years have been revealing, many of the classic issues concerning neural induction and patterning remain essentially as they were when first defined many decades ago. The power of modern molecular genetics, however, should permit many of these issues to be significantly clarified in the decades to come.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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