The Francis Crick Institute
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From signalling to form: the coordination of neural tube patterning

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-08, 13:44 authored by Thomas JR Frith, James Briscoe, Giulia LM Boezio
The development of the vertebrate spinal cord involves the formation of the neural tube and the generation of multiple distinct cell types. The process starts during gastrulation, combining axial elongation with specification of neural cells and the formation of the neuroepithelium. Tissue movements produce the neural tube which is then exposed to signals that provide patterning information to neural progenitors. The intracellular response to these signals, via a gene regulatory network, governs the spatial and temporal differentiation of progenitors into specific cell types, facilitating the assembly of functional neuronal circuits. The interplay between the gene regulatory network, cell movement, and tissue mechanics generates the conserved neural tube pattern observed across species. In this review we offer an overview of the molecular and cellular processes governing the formation and patterning of the neural tube, highlighting how the remarkable complexity and precision of vertebrate nervous system arises. We argue that a multidisciplinary and multiscale understanding of the neural tube development, paired with the study of species-specific strategies, will be crucial to tackle the open questions.


Crick (Grant ID: CC2032, Grant title: Briscoe CC2032) Wellcome Trust (Grant ID: 218670/Z/19/Z, Grant title: WT 218670/Z/19/Z)