Hox genes, neural crest cells and branchial arch patterning

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2001 Dec;13(6):698-705. doi: 10.1016/s0955-0674(00)00273-8.


Proper craniofacial development requires the orchestrated integration of multiple specialized tissue interactions. Recent analyses suggest that craniofacial development is not dependent upon neural crest pre-programming as previously thought but is regulated by a more complex integration of cell and tissue interactions. In the absence of neural crest cells it is still possible to obtain normal arch patterning indicating that neural crest is not responsible for patterning all of arch development. The mesoderm, endoderm and surface ectoderm tissues play a role in the patterning of the branchial arches, and there is now strong evidence that Hoxa2 acts as a selector gene for the pathways that govern second arch structures.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning*
  • Bone and Bones / embryology
  • Branchial Region / embryology*
  • Ectoderm / physiology
  • Endoderm / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Head / embryology
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Mesoderm / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Neural Crest / cytology
  • Neural Crest / physiology*
  • Rhombencephalon / embryology
  • Rhombencephalon / physiology


  • Homeodomain Proteins