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Subpopulations of NeuroM and MyoD positive cells in the chick embryo epiblast



Subpopulations of NeuroM and MyoD positive cells in the chick embryo epiblast



FASEB Journal 17(4-5): Abstract No 467 8



The chordamesoderm directs the overlying epiblast to form the nervous system. Prior to this inductive event, a few epiblast cells from the chick embryo are able to differentiate into neurons when placed in culture. In order to locate neurogenic cells in the embryo, in situ hybridizations were carried out using fluorescent dendrimers against NeuroM mRNA. NeuroM is a transcription factor that was previously shown to be expressed in postmitotic, premigratory neuronal precursors in the neural tube. NeuroM dendrimers labeled the neural tube of the stage 18 embryo and the site of neural induction in the epiblast of the stage 4 embryo. A few NeuroM positive cells were also seen in the primitive streak, lateral mesoderm, and endoderm. Prior to gastrulation, the stage 1 embryo contained cells with NeuroM in the anterior epiblast. At least some of the NeuroM positive cells incorporated BrdU, and therefore, were replicating. Double labeling of stages 1 and 4 embryos revealed that NeuroM and the skeletal muscle specific transcription factor MyoD were expressed in different subpopulations of cells. When cells with MyoD were isolated and cultured, they formed muscle but not neurons. Cells from NeuroM positive but not negative regions of the embryo differentiated into neurons. These results suggest small subpopulations of cells may become committed to the neurogenic and myogenic lineages prior to the initiation of gastrulation.

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