, Volume 62, Issue 21, pp 2516-2525
Date: 18 Oct 2005

Transcription factor c-Myb is involved in the regulation of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition in the avian neural crest

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Multipotential neural crest cells (NCCs) originate by an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during vertebrate embryogenesis. We show for the first time that the key hematopoietic factor c-Myb is synthesized in early chick embryos including the neural tissue and participates in the regulation of the trunk NCCs. A reduction of endogenous c-Myb protein both in tissue explants in vitro and in embryos in ovo, prevented the formation of migratory NCCs. A moderate over-expression of c-myb in naive intermediate neural plates triggered the EMT and NCC migration probably through cooperation with BMP4 signaling because (i) BMP4 activated c-myb expression, (ii) elevated c-Myb caused accumulation of transcripts of the BMP4 target genes msx1 and slug, and (iii) the reduction of c-Myb prevented the BMP4-induced formation of NCCs. The data show that in chicken embryos, the c-myb gene is expressed prior to the onset of hematopoiesis and participates in the formation and migration of the trunk neural crest.

Received 4 July 2005; received after revision 5 September 2005; accepted 8 September 2005
†These authors contributed equally to this work