Int. J. Dev. Biol. In Press
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.200229nc
© UPV/EHU Press

Insights into vertebrate head development: from cranial neural crest to the modelling of neurocristopathies

Andrea Maria Julia Weiner, Gabriela Coux, Pablo Armas and Nora Calcaterra*

Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Rosario (IBR), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) – Facultad de Ciencias Bioquímicas y Farmacéuticas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario (UNR), Rosario, Argentina

ABSTRACT Although the vertebrate head has evolved to a wide collection of adaptive shapes, the fundamental signalling pathways and cellular events that outline the head skeleton have proven to be highly conserved. This conservation suggests that major morphological differences are due to changes in differentiation and morphogenetic programs downstream of a well-maintained developmental prepattern. Here we provide a brief examination of the mechanisms and pathways responsible for vertebrate head development, as well as an overview of the animal models suitable for studying face development. Besides, we describe the criteria for neurocristopathies classification, highlighting the contribution of zebrafish to the modelling of Treacher Collins/Franceschetti Syndrome, an emblematic neurocristopathy. The contributions from our laboratory reveal that proper zebrafish head development depends on the fine-tuning of developmental-gene expression mediated by nucleic acid binding proteins able to regulate the DNA conformation and / or neuroepithelium redox state.

Keywords:

animal model, gene regulatory network, epigenetic, Treacher Collins/Franceschetti Syndrome

*Corresponding author e-mail: calcaterra@ibr-conicet.gov.ar