The avian equivalent of Spemann's organizer, Hensen's node, begins to lose its ability to induce a nervous system from area opaca epiblast cells at stage 4+, immediately after the full primitive streak stage. From this stage, the node is no longer able to induce regions of the nervous system anterior to the hindbrain. Stage 4+ is marked by the emergence from the node of a group of cells, the prechordal mesendoderm. Here we have investigated whether the prechordal region possesses the lost functions of the organizer, using quail-chick chimaeras to distinguish graft- and host-derived cells, together with several region-specific molecular markers. We find that the prechordal region does not have neural inducing ability, as it is unable to divert extraembryonic epiblast cells to a neural fate. However, it can confer more anterior character to prospective hindbrain cells of the host, making them acquire expression of the forebrain markers tailless and Otx-2. It can also rescue the expression of Krox-20 and Otx-2 from nervous system induced by an older (stage 5) node in extraembryonic epiblast. We show that these properties reflect a true change of fate of cells rather than recruitment from other regions. The competence of neuroectoderm to respond to anteriorizing signals declines by stages 7–9, but both posteriorizing signals and the ability of neuroectoderm to respond to them persist after this stage.
The prechordal region lacks neural inducing ability, but can confer anterior character to more posterior neuroepithelium
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A.C. Foley, K.G. Storey, C.D. Stern; The prechordal region lacks neural inducing ability, but can confer anterior character to more posterior neuroepithelium. Development 1 August 1997; 124 (15): 2983–2996. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.124.15.2983
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