The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 43: 615 - 623 (1999)

Vol 43, Issue 7

Special Issue: The Hubrecht Laboratory

The neural induction process; its morphogenetic aspects

Published: 30 November -0001

P D Nieuwkoop

Hubrecht Laboratory, Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology, Utrecht.


This posthumous review of early embryonic inductions concludes: 1) the amphibian egg has only two distinct components, animal and vegetal. Interactions at their mutual boundary forms meso-endoderm. This is "meso-endoderm induction", not just "mesoderm induction". 2) The dorso-ventral polarity of the yolk mass implies a dorsally situated inducing centre. 3) Accumulation of cells into one, two, three or many cell masses [problastopores] along the circumference of the meso-endoderm results in as many axes, implying a self-organizing capacity of meso-endoderm. 4) Induction of the meso-endoderm is slow, spreading cell to cell through the animal moiety from the boundary of the vegetal yolk mass towards the animal pole. 5) Interaction between mesoderm and ectoderm is a separate step leading to cranio-caudal differentiation of the archenteron roof. 6) The initial invaginating endoderm and mesoderm, representing the future pharynx endoderm and prechordal plate mesoderm, first contacts the most posterior presumptive neurectoderm after having passed the still uninvaginated trunk mesoderm. At that moment an antero-posterior level neural induction actually starts. 7) The ectoderm contraction wave coincides spatially and temporally with the induced neural plate. 8) Two successive homoiogenetic waves of inductive activity pass through the presumptive neurectoderm in the anterior direction, the first one, "activation", giving rise to neural differentiation and ultimately forebrain, the second one, "transformation", to more caudal CNS structures. These are separate, successive steps in CNS regional induction. 9) The midbrain represents a secondary formation in the neural plate. 10) The observed changes in morphogenesis may depend upon separate, successive binary decisions via [cell and] nuclear state splitters [involving differentiation waves].

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