Morpholinos for splice modificatio

Morpholinos for splice modification

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Vital dye labelling of Xenopus laevis trunk neural crest reveals multipotency and novel pathways of migration
A. Collazo, M. Bronner-Fraser, S.E. Fraser

Summary

Although the Xenopus embryo has served as an important model system for both molecular and cellular studies of vertebrate development, comparatively little is known about its neural crest. Here, we take advantage of the ease of manipulation and relative transparency of Xenopus laevis embryos to follow neural crest cell migration and differentiation in living embryos. We use two techniques to study the lineage and migratory patterns of frog neural crest cells: (1) injections of DiI or lysinated rhodamine dextran (LRD) into small populations of neural crest cells to follow movement and (2) injections of LRD into single cells to follow cell lineage. By using non-invasive approaches that allow observations in living embryos and control of the time and position of labelling, we have been able to expand upon the results of previous grafting experiments. Migration and differentiation of the labelled cells were observed over time in individual living embryos, and later in sections to determine precise position and morphology. Derivatives populated by the neural crest are the fins, pigment stripes, spinal ganglia, adrenal medulla, pronephric duct, enteric nuclei and the posterior portion of the dorsal aorta. In the rostral to mid-trunk levels, most neural crest cells migrate along two paths: a dorsal pathway into the fin, followed by presumptive fin cells, and a ventral pathway along the neural tube and notochord, followed by presumptive pigment, sensory ganglion, sympathetic ganglion and adrenal medullary cells. In the caudal trunk, two additional paths were noted. One group of cells moves circumferentially within the fin, in an arc from dorsal to ventral; another progresses ventrally to the anus and subsequently populates the ventral fin. By labelling individual precursor cells, we find that neural tube and neural crest cells often share a common precursor. The majority of clones contain labelled progeny cells in the dorsal fin. The remainder have progeny in multiple derivatives including spinal ganglion cells, pigment cells, enteric cells, fin cells and/or neural tube cells in all combinations, suggesting that many premigratory Xenopus neural crest precursors are multipotent.