Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 30451684
Elife 2018 Nov;7
In vertebrates, head and trunk muscles develop from different mesodermal populations and are regulated by distinct genetic networks. Neck muscles at the head-trunk interface remain poorly defined due to their complex morphogenesis and dual mesodermal origins. Here, we use genetically modified mice to establish a 3D model that integrates regulatory genes, cell populations and morphogenetic events that define this transition zone. We show that the evolutionary conserved cucullaris-derived muscles originate from posterior cardiopharyngeal mesoderm, not lateral plate mesoderm, and we define new boundaries for neural crest and mesodermal contributions to neck connective tissue. Furthermore, lineage studies and functional analysis of – and null mice reveal a unique developmental program for somitic neck muscles that is distinct from that of somitic trunk muscles. Our findings unveil the embryological and developmental requirements underlying tetrapod neck myogenesis and provide a blueprint to investigate how muscle subsets are selectively affected in some human myopathies.