Int. J. Dev. Biol. 42: 909 - 916 (1998)
© UPV/EHU Press

Neurulation in amniote vertebrates: a novel view deduced from the use of quail-chick chimeras.

N M Le Douarin, M A Teillet and M Catala

Institut d'Embryologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire du CNRS et du Collège de France, Nogent-sur-Marne. Nicole.le-douarin@infobiogen.fr

ABSTRACT Two apparently different mechanisms successively contribute to the formation of the neural tube in the avian embryo: bending of the neural plate during the primary neurulation in the cephalo-cervico-thoracic region and cavitation of the medullary cord during the secondary neurulation in the lumbo-sacral region. During both these processes, gastrulation continues by the caudal regression of Hensen's node--also called cordoneural hinge in the secondary neurulation. Labeling of Hensen's node or cordoneural hinge by the quail chick marker system revealed that this structure, which is the equivalent of the dorsal blastoporal lip of the Amphibian embryo, i.e., of the Spemann's organizer, gives rise to the midline cells of the three germ layers: the floor plate of the neural tube, the notocord and the dorsal cells of the intestinal endoderm. Caudally to the organizer, both in primary and secondary neurulation, the presumptive territory of the alar plates of the future neural tube overlies the precursors of the paraxial mesoderm. Regression of Hensen's node bisects the ectoderm in two bilateral neural plates leaving in its wake the floor plate, the notocord and the dorsal endoderm.