Research on the development of the dorsal neural tube is particularly challenging. In this highly dynamic domain, a temporal transition occurs between early neural crest progenitors that undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and exit the neural primordium, and the subsequent roof plate, a resident epithelial group of cells that constitutes the dorsal midline of the central nervous system. Among other functions, the roof plate behaves as an organizing center for the generation of dorsal interneurons. Despite extensive knowledge of the formation, emigration and migration of neural crest progenitors, little is known about the mechanisms leading to the end of neural crest production and the transition into a roof plate stage. Are these two mutually dependent or autonomously regulated processes? Is the generation of roof plate and dorsal interneurons induced by neural tube-derived factors throughout both crest and roof plate stages, respectively, or are there differences in signaling properties and responsiveness as a function of time? In this review, we discuss distinctive characteristics of each population and possible mechanisms leading to the shift between the above cell types.
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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Cell cycle
- Definitive roof plate
- Dorsal interneurons
- Epithelial to mesenchymal transition
- Neural crest
- Neural tube