Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 287–299 | Cite as

Sonic Hedgehog Regulation of the Neural Precursor Cell Fate During Chicken Optic Tectum Development

  • Ciqing Yang
  • Xiaoying Li
  • Qiuling Li
  • Han Li
  • Liang Qiao
  • Zhikun Guo
  • Juntang LinEmail author


During nervous system development, neurons project axons over long distances to reach the appropriate targets for correct neural circuit formation. Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is a secreted protein and plays a key role in regulating vertebrate embryogenesis, especially in central nervous system (CNS) patterning, including neuronal migration and axonal projection in the brain and spinal cord. In the developing ventral midbrain, Shh is sufficient to specify a striped pattern of cell fates. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying the Shh regulation of the neural precursor cell fate during the optic tectum development. Here, we aimed at studying how Shh might regulate chicken optic tectum patterning. In the present study, in ovo electroporation methods were employed to achieve the overexpression of Shh in the optic tectum during chicken embryo development. Besides, the study combined in ovo electroporation and neuron isolation culturing to study the function of Shh in vivo and in vitro. The fluorescent immunohistochemistry methods were used to check the related indicators. The results showed that Shh overexpression caused 87.8% of cells to be distributed to the stratum griseum central (SGC) layer, while only 39.3% of the GFP-transfected cells resided in the SGC layer in the control group. Shh overexpression also reduced the axon length in vivo and in vitro. In conclusion, we provide evidence that Shh regulates the neural precursor cell fate during chicken optic tectum development. Shh overexpression impairs neuronal migration and may affect the fate determination of transfected neurons.


Sonic hedgehog In ovo electroporation Neural precursor cells Cell fate Optic tectum Chicken embryo 



This work was supported by a grant from National Science Foundation of China (No 81771226, 81600987), Xinxiang major science and technology projects (ZD17008), the Henan Province University youth researcher support program project (2015GGJS-133), the Henan Province Natural Science Foundation (162300410214), the support project for the Disciplinary group of Psychology and Neuroscience, Xinxiang Medical University (2016PN-KFKT-03, 20172DCG-03), the Science and Technology Innovation Talents Support Program of Henan Universities and Xinxiang City (14HASTIT032, CXRC16003), the PhD Research Startup Foundation (505090) of Xinxiang Medical University, Henan Key Laboratory of Medical Tissue Regeneration Open Project (KFKT15002) and USM fellowship.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stem Cells and Biotherapy Engineering Research Center of Henan, College of Life Science and TechnologyXinxiang Medical UniversityXinxiangChina
  2. 2.Henan Key Laboratory of Medical Tissue RegenerationXinxiangChina
  3. 3.Advanced Medical and Dental InstituteUniversity Sains MalaysiaPenangMalaysia
  4. 4.College of Biomedical EngineeringXinxiang Medical UniversityXinxiangChina

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