The vertebrate neural crest arises at the border of the neural plate during early stages of nervous system development; however, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying neural crest formation. Here we identify a secreted protein, Noelin-1, which has the ability to prolong neural crest production. Noelin-1 messenger RNA is expressed in a graded pattern in the closing neural tube. It subsequently becomes restricted to the dorsal neural folds and migrating neural crest. Over expression of Noelin-1 using recombinant retroviruses causes an excess of neural crest emigration and extends the time that the neural tube is competent to generate as well as regenerate neural crest cells. These results support an important role for Noelin-1 in regulating the production of neural crest cells by the neural tube.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology