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Dev Dyn. 1997 Oct;210(2):146-56.

Segmental identity can change independently in the hindbrain and rhombencephalic neural crest.

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Max-Planck Institute of Immunobiology, Freiburg, Germany.


In this study we tested whether the segmental identities of the hindbrain and its derived neural crest are necessarily linked or, instead, if they can be altered independently. Using morphological criteria, we show that the hindbrains of Hoxa-2 mutant mice, in which the second arch skeletal derivatives assume first arch characteristics (Gendron-Maguire et al. [1993] Cell 75:1317-1331; Rijli et al. [1993] Cell 75:1333-1349), retain normal segmental identities. Also, by phenotypic analysis, we show that, with retinoic acid, changes can be induced in the identity of the preotic hindbrain without effects in its derived neural crest. Our data thus indicate that identity changes in the hindbrain and branchial arch neural crest can occur independently. Moreover, if Hoxa-2 is concomitantly induced by retinoic acid in the first branchial arch, the proximal derivatives of this arch are also affected. We propose a model for the patterning of the branchial region, according to which the segmental identity in this area is provided mainly by the branchial arches.

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