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Respective contribution of the cephalic neural crest and mesoderm to SIX1-expressing head territories in the avian embryo

Abstract : AbstractBackgroundVertebrate head development depends on a series of interactions between many cell populations of distinct embryological origins. Cranial mesenchymal tissues have a dual embryonic source: - the neural crest (NC), which generates most of craniofacial skeleton, dermis, pericytes, fat cells, and tenocytes; and - the mesoderm, which yields muscles, blood vessel endothelia and some posterior cranial bones. The molecular players that orchestrate co-development of cephalic NC and mesodermal cells to properly construct the head of vertebrates remain poorly understood. In this regard, Six1 gene, a vertebrate homolog of Drosophila Sine Oculis, is known to be required for development of ear, nose, tongue and cranial skeleton. However, the embryonic origin and fate of Six1-expressing cells have remained unclear. In this work, we addressed these issues in the avian embryo model by using quail-chick chimeras, cephalic NC cultures and immunostaining for SIX1.ResultsOur data show that, at early NC migration stages, SIX1 is expressed by mesodermal cells but excluded from the NC cells (NCC). Then, SIX1 becomes widely expressed in NCC that colonize the pre-otic mesenchyme. In contrast, in the branchial arches (BAs), SIX1 is present only in mesodermal cells that give rise to jaw muscles. At later developmental stages, the distribution of SIX1-expressing cells in mesoderm-derived tissues is consistent with a possible role of this factor in the myogenic program of all types of head muscles, including pharyngeal, extraocular and tongue muscles. In NC derivatives, SIX1 is notably expressed in perichondrium and chondrocytes of the nasal septum and in the sclera, although other facial cartilages such as Meckel’s were negative at the stages considered. Moreover, in cephalic NC cultures, chondrocytes and myofibroblasts, not the neural and melanocytic cells express SIX1.ConclusionThe present results point to a dynamic tissue-specific expression of SIX1 in a variety of cephalic NC- and mesoderm-derived cell types and tissues, opening the way for further analysis of Six1 function in the coordinated development of these two cellular populations during vertebrate head formation.
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Barbara F. Fonseca, Gérard Couly, Elisabeth Dupin. Respective contribution of the cephalic neural crest and mesoderm to SIX1-expressing head territories in the avian embryo. BMC Developmental Biology, BioMed Central, 2016, 17 (1), pp.13. ⟨10.1186/s12861-017-0155-z⟩. ⟨inserm-01616849⟩

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