Neural induction. A bird's eye view

Trends Genet. 1999 Jan;15(1):20-4. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(98)01620-5.


Since the discovery of the phenomenon of neural induction by Spemann and Mangold in 1924, considerable effort has been invested in identifying the signals produced by the organizer that are responsible for diverting the fate of cells from epidermal to neural. Substantial progress has been made only recently by the finding in amphibians that BMP4 is a neural inhibitor and epidermal inducer, and that endogenous antagonists of BMPs are secreted by the organizer. However, recent results in the chick point to the existence of other, upstream events required before BMP inhibition stabilizes neural fates. Here we take a critical view of the evidence for and against the view that BMP inhibition is a sufficient trigger for neural induction in different vertebrates.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / deficiency
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / physiology*
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Chick Embryo / physiology*
  • Ectoderm / physiology
  • Embryonic Induction* / physiology
  • Follistatin
  • Gastrula / physiology
  • Glycoproteins / physiology
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Mesoderm / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Morphogenesis / physiology
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology
  • Xenopus laevis / physiology


  • Bmp4 protein, mouse
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Follistatin
  • Glycoproteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • bmp4 protein, Xenopus
  • noggin protein
  • chordin