Neural crest cells, the migratory precursors of numerous cell types including the vertebrate peripheral nervous system, arise in the dorsal neural tube and follow prescribed routes into the embryonic periphery. While the timing and location of neural crest migratory pathways has been well documented in the trunk, a comprehensive collection of signals that guides neural crest migration along these paths has only recently been established. In this review, we outline the molecular cascade of events during trunk neural crest development. After describing the sequential routes taken by trunk neural crest cells, we consider the guidance cues that pattern these neural crest trajectories. We pay particular attention to segmental neural crest development and the steps and signals that generate a metameric peripheral nervous system, attempting to reconcile conflicting observations in chick and mouse. Finally, we compare cranial and trunk neural crest development in order to highlight common themes.
- Neural crest
- Peripheral nervous system