Cell mixing between the embryonic midbrain and hindbrain

Curr Biol. 2001 Feb 6;11(3):204-7. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(01)00049-5.


Segmentation is a mechanism that controls spatial organization along the anteroposterior axis of the neural tube and is particularly well characterized for the hindbrain region [1]. The generation of distinct and regionally specific structures from each rhombomere is achieved with the almost complete absence of cell mixing between neighboring rhombomeres [2, 3]. Here, we have examined cell mingling at the isthmus, where Otx2-expressing midbrain cells abut Gbx2-expressing hindbrain cells [4]. The sharp line of demarcation between the two expression domains suggests that this interface would be a compartment boundary, with no intermixing of cells, but this has not been directly tested. We have used short-term reaggregation assays to compare the adhesive properties of cells derived from midbrain and anterior hindbrain and cell labeling in vivo directly to monitor cell behavior at the midbrain/hindbrain boundary. Interestingly, our data demonstrate that, in contrast to the rhombomeres, differential adhesion does not seem to operate between the midbrain and anterior hindbrain and that cells move between the two territories. We conclude that these two subdivisions are not maintained by cell lineage restriction but by cells maintaining labile fates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mesencephalon / cytology
  • Mesencephalon / embryology*
  • Rhombencephalon / cytology
  • Rhombencephalon / embryology*