The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 46: 193 - 200 (2002)

Vol 46, Issue 1

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in Switzerland

Cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic cues regulating lineage decisions in multipotent neural crest-derived progenitor cells

Published: 1 January 2002

Christian Paratore, Lilian Hagedorn, Julien Floris, Lisette Hari, Maurice Kléber, Ueli Suter and Lukas Sommer

Institute of Cell Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH-Hönggerberg, Zürich.


Multipotent stem cells must generate various differentiated cell types in correct number and sequence during neural development. In the peripheral nervous system (PNS), this involves the formation of postmigratory progenitor cell types which maintain multipotency and are able to give rise to neural and non-neural cells in response to instructive growth factors. We propose that fate restrictions in such progenitor cells are controlled by the combinatorial interaction of different extracellular signals, including community effects in response to both neurogenic and gliogenic factors. In addition, distinct progenitor cell types display intrinsic differences which modulate their response to the extracellular environment. Thus, a progenitor cell is apparently able to integrate multiple intrinsic and extrinsic cues and thereby to choose fates appropriate for its location. Fate analysis of genetically modified progenitor cells will help to identify the molecules involved. This approach appears promising given the identification of multipotent progenitor cells from the mouse PNS and the availability of genetics in the mouse system.

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