The genetic basis of mammalian neurulation

Nat Rev Genet. 2003 Oct;4(10):784-93. doi: 10.1038/nrg1181.


More than 80 mutant mouse genes disrupt neurulation and allow an in-depth analysis of the underlying developmental mechanisms. Although many of the genetic mutants have been studied in only rudimentary detail, several molecular pathways can already be identified as crucial for normal neurulation. These include the planar cell-polarity pathway, which is required for the initiation of neural tube closure, and the sonic hedgehog signalling pathway that regulates neural plate bending. Mutant mice also offer an opportunity to unravel the mechanisms by which folic acid prevents neural tube defects, and to develop new therapies for folate-resistant defects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Folic Acid / genetics
  • Folic Acid / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Neurologic Mutants
  • Mutation
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Nervous System / metabolism
  • Neural Tube Defects / embryology
  • Neural Tube Defects / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Folic Acid