Migratory patterns and developmental potential of trunk neural crest cells in the axolotl embryo



Using cell markers and grafting, we examined the timing of migration and developmental potential of trunk neural crest cells in axolotl. No obvious differences in pathway choice were noted for DiI-labeling at different lateral or medial positions of the trunk neural folds in neurulae, which contributed not only to neural crest but also to Rohon-Beard neurons. Labeling wild-type dorsal trunks at pre- and early-migratory stages revealed that individual neural crest cells migrate away from the neural tube along two main routes: first, dorsolaterally between the epidermis and somites and, later, ventromedially between the somites and neural tube/notochord. Dorsolaterally migrating crest primarily forms pigment cells, with those from anterior (but not mid or posterior) trunk neural folds also contributing glia and neurons to the lateral line. White mutants have impaired dorsolateral but normal ventromedial migration. At late migratory stages, most labeled cells move along the ventromedial pathway or into the dorsal fin. Contrasting with other anamniotes, axolotl has a minor neural crest contribution to the dorsal fin, most of which arises from the dermomyotome. Taken together, the results reveal stereotypic migration and differentiation of neural crest cells in axolotl that differ from other vertebrates in timing of entry onto the dorsolateral pathway and extent of contribution to some derivatives. Developmental Dynamics 236:389–403, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.