Molecular control of the neural crest and peripheral nervous system development

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Abstract

A transient and unique population of multipotent stem cells, known as neural crest cells (NCCs), generate a bewildering array of cell types during vertebrate development. An attractive model among developmental biologists, the study of NCC biology has provided a wealth of knowledge regarding the cellular and molecular mechanisms important for embryogenesis. Studies in numerous species have defined how distinct phases of NCC specification, proliferation, migration, and survival contribute to the formation of multiple functionally distinct organ systems. NCC contributions to the peripheral nervous system (PNS) are well known. Critical developmental processes have been defined that provide outstanding models for understanding how extracellular stimuli, cell-cell interactions, and transcriptional networks cooperate to direct cellular diversification and PNS morphogenesis. Dissecting the complex extracellular and intracellular mechanisms that mediate the formation of the PNS from NCCs may have important therapeutic implications for neurocristopathies, neuropathies, and certain forms of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-231
Number of pages31
JournalCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology
Volume111
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Keywords

  • Glia
  • Nerve
  • Schwann cell
  • Sensory neuron
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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