To determine if neural crest cells are pluripotent and establish whether differentiation occurs in the absence of noncrest cells, a cell culture method was devised in which differentiation could be examined in clones derived from single, isolated neural crest cells. Single neural crest cells, which were isolated before the onset of in vivo migration, gave rise to three types of clones: pigmented, unpigmented, and mixed. Pigmented clones consisted of melanocytes only, whereas some unpigmented cells in mixed and unpigmented clones contained catecholamines, identifying them as adrenergic cells. Extracellular matrix derived from quail somite or chick skin fibroblast cultures stimulated adrenergic differentiation and axon formation. These results demonstrate for the first time the existence of pluripotent quail neural crest cells that give rise to at least two progeny, melanocytes and neuronal cells. They also suggest that continuous direct interactions with noncrest cells are not required for the differentiation of these two cell types. However, components of the extracellular matrix derived from noncrest cells may play an important role in expression of the adrenergic phenotype.
"Given the diversity of the derivatives generated by the NC in vivo, several attempts aimed at elucidating how and when the different NC-lineages become segregated during ontogeny, have been made by testing the developmental potential of individual NC cells in vitro and in vivo. Seminal experiments of in vitro clonal assays performed three decades ago by Cohen and collaborators unravelled that avian trunk NC cells migrating from cultured neural tubes are heterogeneous with respect to their potential to give rise to unpigmented and pigmented progeny  . The sound evidence for multipotency of NC cells in vivo was put forward by lineage tracing of the progeny of individual cells labelled following microinjection of vital fluorescent dye in the avian embryo  . "
"types, including osteocytes, chondrocytes, and sensory neurons. Cell labeling studies indicate that neural crest cells are initially multipotent but gradually become lineagerestricted in developmental potential (Dorsky et al., 1998; Sieber-Blum and Cohen, 1980). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Melanocytes are pigment-producing cells in the skin of humans and other vertebrates. A number of genes involved in melanocyte development and vertebrate pigmentation have been characterized, largely through studies of a diversity of pigment mutations in a variety of species. Embryonic development of the melanocyte initiates with cell fate specification in the neural crest, which is then followed by cell migration and niche localization. Many genes involved in melanocyte development have also been implicated in the development of melanoma, an aggressive and fatal form of skin cancer that originates in the melanocyte. Although early stage melanomas that have not spread to the lymph nodes can be excised with little risk of recurrence, patients diagnosed with metastatic melanoma have a high mortality rate due to the resistance of most tumors to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Transformed melanocytes that develop into melanomas proliferate abnormally and often begin to grow radially in the skin. Vertical growth can then follow this radial growth, leading to an invasion through the basement membrane into the underlying dermis and subsequent metastasis. It is still unclear, however, how a normal melanocyte becomes a melanoma cell, and how melanoma utilizes the properties of the normal melanocyte and its progenitors in its progression. The goal of this mini-review is to highlight the role of melanocyte developmental pathways in melanoma, and to discuss recent studies and tools being used to illuminate this connection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stem cells, that is, cells that can both reproduce themselves and differentiate into functional cell types, attract much interest as potential aids to healing and disease therapy. Embryonic neural crest is pluripotent and generates the peripheral nervous system, melanocytes, and some connective tissues. Neural-crest-related stem cells have been reported previously in postnatal skin: committed melanocytic stem cells in the hair follicle, and pluripotent cell types from the hair follicle and papilla that can produce various sets of lineages. Here we describe novel pluripotent neural crest-like stem cells from neonatal mouse epidermis, with different potencies, isolated as 3 independent immortal lines. Using alternative regulatory factors, they could be converted to large numbers of either Schwann precursor cells, pigmented melanocytes, chondrocytes, or functional sensory neurons showing voltage-gated sodium channels. Some of the neurons displayed abundant active TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors. Such functional neurons have previously been obtained in culture only with difficulty, by explantation. The system was also used to generate comparative gene expression data for the stem cells, melanocytes, and melanoblasts that sufficiently explain the lack of pigment in melanoblasts and provide a rationale for some genes expressed apparently ectopically in melanomas, such as ephrin receptors.
The FASEB Journal 06/2009; 23(9):3179-92. DOI:10.1096/fj.08-123596 · 5.04 Impact Factor
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