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Regulation of neuronal differentiation at the neurogenic wavefront

AuthorsFormosa-Jordán, P.; Ibañes, M.; Ares, Saúl; Frade López, José María
Issue Date2012
PublisherCompany of Biologists
CitationDevelopment 139: 2321- 2329 (2012)
AbstractSignaling mediated by the Delta/Notch system controls the process of lateral inhibition, known to regulate neurogenesis in metazoans. Lateral inhibition takes place in equivalence groups formed by cells having equal capacity to differentiate, and it results in the singling out of precursors, which subsequently become neurons. During normal development, areas of active neurogenesis spread through non-neurogenic regions in response to specific morphogens, giving rise to neurogenic wavefronts. Close contact of these wavefronts with non-neurogenic cells is expected to affect lateral inhibition. Therefore, a mechanism should exist in these regions to prevent disturbances of the lateral inhibitory process. Focusing on the developing chick retina, we show that Dll1 is widely expressed by non-neurogenic precursors located at the periphery of this tissue, a region lacking Notch1, lFng, and differentiation-related gene expression. We investigated the role of this Dll1 expression through mathematical modeling. Our analysis predicts that the absence of Dll1 ahead of the neurogenic wavefront results in reduced robustness of the lateral inhibition process, often linked to enhanced neurogenesis and the presence of morphological alterations of the wavefront itself. These predictions are consistent with previous observations in the retina of mice in which Dll1 is conditionally mutated. The predictive capacity of our mathematical model was confirmed further by mimicking published results on the perturbation of morphogenetic furrow progression in the eye imaginal disc of Drosophila. Altogether, we propose that Notch-independent Delta expression ahead of the neurogenic wavefront is required to avoid perturbations in lateral inhibition and wavefront progression, thus optimizing the neurogenic process. © 2012.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1242/dev.076406
issn: 0950-1991
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