Group leader: Sophie Creuzet

Development & Evolution of the Neural Crest (DENC)

In brief

The neural crest, a unique cell population originating from the primitive neural field, has a multi-systemic and structural contribution to vertebrate development. At cephalic level, the neural crest generates most of the skeletal tissues encasing the developing forebrain and provides the prosencephalon with functional vasculature and meninges.

Over the last decade, we have demonstrated that the cephalic neural crest (CNC) exerts an autonomous and prominent control on forebrain and sense organs development. Some of the molecular determinants regulators required to convey this morphogenetic effect have been identified.

These notions of exogenous patterning sources of the forebrain and CNS provide a novel conceptual framework: they have profound implications in Developmental Biology. From biomedical standpoint, these data also suggest that the spectrum of neurocristopathies is broader that expected and that some rare diseases including neurological disorders, which are multi-factorial and polygenic, may stem from CNC dysfunctions.