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J Neurobiol. 1997 Jun 20;32(7):722-46.

Immortalization and controlled in vitro differentiation of murine multipotent neural crest stem cells.

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Division of Biology 216-76, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91125, USA.


To isolate mouse neural crest stem cells, we have generated a rat monoclonal antibody to murine neurotrophin receptor (p75). We have immortalized p75+ murine neural crest cells by expression of v-myc, and have isolated several clonal cell lines. These lines can be maintained in an undifferentiated state, or induced to differentiate by changing the culture conditions. One of these cell lines, MONC-1, is capable of generating peripheral neurons, glia, and melanocytic cells. Importantly, most individual MONC-1 cells are multipotent when analyzed at clonal density. The neurons that differentiate under standard conditions have an autonomic-like phenotype, but under different conditions can express markers of other peripheral neuronal lineages. These lines therefore exhibit a similar differentiation potential as their normal counterparts. Furthermore, they can be genetically modified or generated from mice of different genetic backgrounds, providing a useful tool for molecular studies of neural crest development.

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