Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 10559475
Mech. Dev. 1999 Dec;89(1-2):3-14
Melanocytes derived from pluripotent neural crest cells migrate initially in the dorsolateral pathway between the ectoderm and dermomyotome. To understand the role of specific proteins involved in this cell migration, we looked for a cellular model that mimics the in vivo behavior of melanoblasts, and that allows functional studies of their migration. We report here that wild-type embryonic stem (ES) cells are able to follow the ventral and dorsolateral neural crest pathways after being grafted into chicken embryos. By contrast, a mutant ES cell line deficient for beta1 integrin subunits, proteins involved in cell-extracellular interactions, had a severely impaired migratory behavior. Interestingly, ES cells deficient for Kit, the tyrosine kinase receptor for the stem cell factor (SCF), behaved similarly to wild-type ES cells. Thus, grafting mouse ES cells into chicken embryos provides a new cellular system that allows both in vitro and in vivo studies of the molecular mechanisms controlling dorsolateral migration.