Mechanisms of early neural crest development: From cell specification to migration

C. Kalcheim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The neural crest is a group of embryonic progenitors that forms during the process of neurulation by interactions that take place between the prospective epidermis and the specified neuroectoderm. Although initially an integral part of the neuroepithelium, neural crest cells separate from the central nervous system primordium by a process of epitheliomesenchymal transition and become a motile cell population. These mesenchymal cells then migrate through stereotypic pathways, some of which are common and others unique to various vertebrate species. Furthermore, the availability of distinct migratory pathways also differs according to embryonic stage and axial level. Studies have begun to address the molecular basis of neural crest specification, delamination, and migration. The present review summarizes some major advances in our understanding of the nature of the intercellular interactions and the molecules that mediate them during early phases of neural crest ontogeny. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)143-196
Number of pages54
JournalInternational Review of Cytology
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I thank the members of my laboratory, Dalit-Sela-Donenfeld, Anat Debby-Brafman, Nitza Kahane, Yuval Cinnamon, and Chana Carmeli, whose contributions are cited in this review. Work conducted in the author’s laboratory and discussed herein was supported by the Israel Science Foundation, the German–Israeli Foundation (GIF), the Israel Cancer Research Foundation (ICRF), the Dysautonomia Foundation, Inc., and the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.


  • BMP
  • Cadherin
  • Collapsin
  • Ephrin
  • Epitheliomesenchymal conversion
  • F-Spondin
  • Noggin
  • RhoB
  • Semaphorin
  • Somites
  • Wnt


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