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Kristin Artinger, Ph.D.

Genetic and developmental mechanisms involved in the patterning of the early neural plate during vertebrate embryogenesis


We are interested in understanding of the molecular, genetic and developmental mechanisms involved in the patterning of the early neural plate during vertebrate embryogenesis. There are several different populations of cells at the lateral border of the neural plate: Neural crest cells, Rohon-Beard sensory neurons, and placodal cells. One of these cell populations, namely neural crest cells, have the extraordinary ability to retain stem cell characteristics during development and give rise to multiple derivatives, including peripheral neurons, pigment cells and craniofacial cartilage. This combination has made it an attractive model system to study cell fate determination. To identity the molecular mechanisms involved in specifying these cells, we have focused on the role of transciption factors in this process. We have recently determined that a zinc finger transcription factor, prdm1, is required for the specification of neural crest cells and Rohon-Beard sensory neurons (Hernandez-Lagunas, 2005). Further, we have recently shown that a homeobox transcription factor, Dlx3b/4b, is involved in positioning where the border of the neural plate forms in Xenopus (Woda et al, 2003) and in zebrafish (Kaji and Artinger, 2004). Interestingly, all cells of the border region are affected after manipulation of Dlx3b/4b expression, but neural crest cells are affected to a lesser degree. By studying these transcription factors, we hope to gain insight into the molecular mechanisms responsible for specifying the cells at the neural plate border.


Stern, C.D., Artinger, K.B., Bronner-Fraser, M. (1991) Tissue Interactions affecting neural crest migration and differentiation. Development 113, 207-216.

Artinger, K.B. and Bronner-Fraser, M. (1992) Partial restriction in the developmental potential of late emigrating neural crest cells. Developmental Biology 149, 149-157.

Lallier, T., Leblanc, G. Artinger, K.B., Bronner-Fraser, M. (1992) Cranial and trunk neural crest cells use different mechanisms for attachment to extracellular matrices. Development 116, 531-541.

Artinger, K.B., and Bronner-Fraser, M. (1992) Notochord grafts do not suppress the formation of neural crest and commissural neurons. Development 116, 877-886.

Artinger, K.B., and Bronner-Fraser, M. (1993) Delayed formation of the floor plate after ablation of the notochord in avian embryos. Neuron 11, 1147-1161.

Artinger, K.B., Fraser, S.E and Bronner-Fraser, M. (1995) Dorsal and ventral cell types can arise from common progenitors in the closing neural tube. Developmental Biology 172, 591-601.

Selleck, M.A., Garcia-Castro, M.I., Artinger, K.B., Bronner-Fraser, M. (1998) Effects of Shh and Noggin on neural crest formation demonstrate that BMP is required in the neural tube but not ectoderm. Development 125, 4919-30.

Ruffins, S., Artinger, K.B., Bronner-Fraser, M. (1998) Early migrating neural crest cells can form ventral neural tube derivatives when challenged by transplantation. Developmental Biology 203, 295-304.

Artinger, K.B., Fedtsova, N., Rhee, J.M., Bronner-Fraser, M., Turner, E. (1998) Placodal origin of Brn-3-expressing cranial sensory neurons. J Neurobiol 36, 572-85.

Artinger, K. B., Chitnis, A.B., Mercola, M. and Driever, W. (1999) Zebrafish narrowminded suggests a genetic link between formation of neural crest and primary sensory neurons. Development 126, 3969-3979.

Kim, C-H., Oda, T., Itoh, M., Jiang, D., Artinger, K.B., Chandrasekharappa, S., Driever, W., Chitnis, A.B. (2000) Repressor activity of headless/tcf3 is essential for vertebrate head formation. Nature 407, 913-916

Belting, H-G., Hauptmann, G., Meyer, D., Abdelilah-Seyfried, S., Chitnis, A., Eschbach, C., Thisse, C., Thisse, B., Soll, I., Artinger, K.B., Lunde, K., Driever, W. (2001) spiel ohne grenzen/pou2 is involved in initiation of the zebrafish midbrain-hindbrain boundary. Development 128, 4165-76

Woda, J., Pastagia, J., Mercola, M., Artinger, K.B. (2003) Dlx proteins position the neural plate border and determine adjacent cell fates. Development 130, 331-342

Zhang, C., Basta, T., Hernandez-Lagunas, L., Simpson, P., Stemple, D., Artinger, K.B., Klymkowsky, M.W. (2004) Repression of nodal expression by maternal B1-type SOXs regulates germ layer formation in Xenopus and zebrafish, Developmental Biology 273, 23-37.

Kaji, T. and Artinger, K.B. (2004) dlx3b and dlx4b function in the formation of Rohon-Beard Sensory neurons and Trigminal plaocdes in the zebrafish neurula Developmental Biology 276(2),523-40

Hernandez-Lagunas, L., Simpson, P., Hershey, C., Zhou, Y., Zon, L., Mercola, M., and Artinger, K.B (2005) Zebrafish Blimp-1/narrowminded is required for neural crest and sensory neuron specification, Developmental Biology, 278, 347-357