Neural Crest Formation and Diversification

  • Marcos S. Simões-Costa
  • Houman D. Hemmati
  • Tanya A. Moreno
  • Marianne Bronner-Fraser
Part of the Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine book series (STEMCELL)


The neural crest is a multipotent embryonic cell population that migrates throughout the embryo and differentiates into a variety of derivatives. Formation of neural crest begins at gastrulation and continues throughout neurulation. Bona fide neural crest cells then emerge from the neural tube after its closure and commence migration to many, destinations. During early induction stages, the cells of the neural plate border are exposed to different environment signals originated from the adjacent tissues. Such signals are responsible for the activation of a gene regulatory network that controls neural crest formation. This regulatory network comprises transcription factors and signaling molecules arranged hierarchically and acts to endow these cells with the ability to delaminate, migrate, and differentiate. This chapter is an overview of the molecular mechanisms underlying neural crest induction, specification, and migration.


Neural Crest Neural Crest Cell Bone Morphogenic Protein Neural Plate Neural Crest Stem Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Clare Baker and Anne Knecht for invaluable comments on the manuscript and Carole LaBonne for helpful discussions. M. S. C. was supported by the Pew Fellows Program in Biomedical Sciences. T. A. M. was a Fellow of the ARCS Foundation. H. D. H. was supported by the McCallum Fund at the California Institute of Technology, Medical Scientist Training Program Grant GM08042, and the Aesculapians Fund of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. This work was supported by U.S. Public Health Service Grants NS36585, NS42287 and HD037105.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcos S. Simões-Costa
    • 1
  • Houman D. Hemmati
    • 1
  • Tanya A. Moreno
    • 1
  • Marianne Bronner-Fraser
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of BiologyCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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