Avian transitin expression mirrors glial cell fate restrictions during neural crest development

Dev Dyn. 2000 May;218(1):150-9. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0177(200005)218:1<150::AID-DVDY13>3.0.CO;2-6.


During development, trunk neural crest cells give rise to three primary classes of derivatives: glial cells, melanocytes, and neurons. As part of an effort to learn how neural crest diversification is regulated, we have produced monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that recognize antigens expressed by neural crest cells early in development. One of these, MAb 7B3 (7B3), was found to recognize an avian transitin-like protein by co-immunostaining with a series of transitin-specific monoclonal antibodies and by Western blot analysis. In neural crest cell cultures, we found that 7B3 initially recognizes the majority of neural crest cells as they emerge from the neural tube. Subsequently, 7B3-immunoreactivity (IR) is progressively restricted to a smaller subpopulation of cells. In fully differentiated trunk neural crest cell cultures, 7B3-IR is expressed only by cells that do not express neuronal markers and lack melanin granules. During development in vivo, 7B3-IR is evident in neural crest cells on the medial, but not the lateral migration pathway, suggesting that it is not expressed by melanocyte precursors. Later, the antigen is detected in non-neuronal, presumptive glial cells in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and sympathetic ganglia, as well as along ventral roots. Cultures of E5 DRG confirm that 7B3-IR is restricted to non-neuronal cells of ganglia, many of which closely associate with neuronal processes. Therefore, of the three major classes of differentiated trunk neural crest derivatives, 7B3 exclusively recognizes glial cells, including both satellite glia and Schwann cells. Since the pattern of 7B3 expression in vitro mirrors the pattern of glial cell fate-restrictions in the trunk neural crest lineage, and is expressed by neural crest-derived glia in vivo, we conclude that 7B3 is an early pan-glial marker for neural crest-derived glial cells and their precursors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / analysis
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / genetics*
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / immunology
  • Hybridomas
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Melanocytes / cytology
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / immunology
  • Nestin
  • Neural Crest / cytology*
  • Neural Crest / embryology*
  • Neuroglia / chemistry
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Quail
  • Stem Cells / chemistry
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nestin