Wnt6 controls amniote neural crest induction through the non-canonical signaling pathway

Authors

  • Corina Schmidt,

    1. Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, London, United Kingdom
    2. Institute of Anatomy, Ludwigs-Maximilians-University of Munich, Munich, Germany
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    • Drs. Schmidt, McGonnell, and Allen contributed equally to this work.

  • Imelda M. McGonnell,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, London, United Kingdom
    • Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, Royal College St, London, NW1 0TU, UK
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    • Drs. Schmidt, McGonnell, and Allen contributed equally to this work.

  • Steve Allen,

    1. Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, London, United Kingdom
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    • Drs. Schmidt, McGonnell, and Allen contributed equally to this work.

  • Anthony Otto,

    1. School of Biological Sciences, The University of Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom
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  • Ketan Patel

    1. School of Biological Sciences, The University of Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The neural crest is a multipotent embryonic cell population that arises from neural ectoderm and forms derivatives essential for vertebrate function. Neural crest induction requires an ectodermal signal, thought to be a Wnt ligand, but the identity of the Wnt that performs this function in amniotes is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that Wnt6, derived from the ectoderm, is necessary for chick neural crest induction. Crucially, we also show that Wnt6 acts through the non-canonical pathway and not the beta-catenin–dependant pathway. Surprisingly, we found that canonical Wnt signaling inhibited neural crest production in the chick embryo. In light of studies in anamniotes demonstrating that canonical Wnt signaling induces neural crest, these results indicate a significant and novel change in the mechanism of neural crest induction during vertebrate evolution. These data also highlight a key role for noncanonical Wnt signaling in cell type specification from a stem population during development. Developmental Dynamics 236:2502–2511, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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