Neural tube on a chip

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Science  01 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6294, pp. 40-41
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6294.40-g

The information that converts an unruly mob of stem cells into an organized, structured tissue, such as the neural tube, includes diffusible factors and three-dimensional constraints. Demers et al. have now constructed a microfluidics device to deliver morphogens at the right time, right place, and in the right sequence for a simplified, experimentally accessible recapitulation of the normal developmental milieu. In this device, mouse stem cells differentiate into motor neurons, not by reading a gradient but rather by reading a specific concentration of the morphogen SHH, which in normal development is present as a gradient. Nascent neurites may, however, be reading a gradient to orient.

Development 143, 10.1242/dev.126847 (2016).

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