Neural Crest

Oh, what places they'll go

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  02 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6256, pp. 53-54
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6256.53-e

Neural crest cells originate from the neuroepithelium, but end up scattered throughout the body, serving as progenitors of a variety of cell types ranging from pigment to bone. Scarpa et al. asked how such initially well-behaved cells become individualistic pioneers. The key is a switch in the collection of molecules that the cell uses to hold on to its environment. With this switch, the neural crest cell's ability to hold on to neighboring neural crest cells weakens at the same time as its ability to hold on to other substrates strengthens. The shifted balance of power tears apart neighboring cells and favors pathways to new territory. As for adolescents' yearning to leave home, the pull of the horizon weakens anchors at the birthplace.

Migrating neural crest cells reach for new substrates (magenta) as their cell-cell holds (cyan) decrease

PHOTO: SCARPA ET AL., DEVELOPMENTAL CELL (24 AUGUST 2015) © 2015 CELL PRESS

Dev. Cell 34, 421 (2015).

Navigate This Article