How do the migratory and adhesive properties of the neural crest govern ganglia formation in the avian peripheral nervous system?



The peripheral nervous system derives mainly from the neural crest both in the head and trunk. Using markers such as fibronectin (FN), neural cell-adhesion molecule (NCAM), the nuclcolar marker for quail cells in chimaeric embryos, and NC-1, a monoclonal antibody specific to crest cells and their neural derivatives, we have attempted to reconstruct the processes that lead to the formation of peripheral ganglia. Our observations allow us to propose a model of the formation of ganglia based on morphogenetic movements and on variations of crest cell adhesiveness. In most cases, crest cells migrate in morphologically defined and transient pathways that lead them to their final site of arrest; these pathways are always associated with FN, which appears necessary for crest cell attachment and movement in vitro. The directionality of crest cell migration is probably dictated by the cells' motile properties and population pressure in restricted areas suitable for cell movement. The disappearance of the pathways and of the substrate necessary for migration while the population is rapidly dividing may be responsible for the aggregation of crest cells in the case of the sensory ganglia. To the contrary, the aggregation of crest cells into autonomic ganglia (sympathetic, enteric, aid ciliary ganglia) does not seem to obey the same rules, no disappearance of the substratum or of the pathways being obvious; rather, their formation seems correlated with the de novo synthesis of adhesive molecules such as NCAM.