The birth of small-diameter TrkA+ neurons that mediate pain and thermoreception begins≈24 hours after the cessation of neural crest cell migration from progenitors residing in the nascent dorsal root ganglion. Although multiple geographically distinct progenitor pools have been proposed, this study is the first to comprehensively characterize the derivation of small-diameter neurons. In the developing chick embryo we identify novel patterns in neural crest cell migration and colonization that sculpt the incipient ganglion into a postmitotic neuronal core encapsulated by a layer of proliferative progenitor cells. Furthermore, we show that this outer progenitor layer is composed of three spatially, temporally, and molecularly distinct progenitor zones, two of which give rise to distinct populations of TrkA+ neurons.
- Dorsal root ganglion
- Neural crest