The occipital lateral plate mesoderm is a novel source for vertebrate neck musculature

Susanne Theis, Ketan Patel*, Petr Valasek, Anthony Otto, Qin Pu, Itamar Harel, Eldad Tzahor, Shahragim Tajbakhsh, Bodo Christ, Ruijin Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


In vertebrates, body musculature originates from somites, whereas head muscles originate from the cranial mesoderm. Neck muscles are located in the transition between these regions. We show that the chick occipital lateral plate mesoderm has myogenic capacity and gives rise to large muscles located in the neck and thorax. We present molecular and genetic evidence to show that these muscles not only have a unique origin, but additionally display a distinct temporal development, forming later than any other muscle group described to date. We further report that these muscles, found in the body of the animal, develop like head musculature rather than deploying the programme used by the trunk muscles. Using mouse genetics we reveal that these muscles are formed in trunk muscle mutants but are absent in head muscle mutants. In concordance with this conclusion, their connective tissue is neural crest in origin. Finally, we provide evidence that the mechanism by which these neck muscles develop is conserved in vertebrates.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2961-2971
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Embryology and Experimental Morphology
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Chick
  • Muscle development
  • Myogenesis
  • Quail
  • Skeletal
  • Somite
  • Vertebrate


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