The generation and diversification of spinal motor neurons: signals and responses

Mech Dev. 2004 Sep;121(9):1103-15. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2004.04.019.


Motor neurons are probably the best characterised neuronal class in the vertebrate central nervous system and have become a paradigm for understanding the mechanisms that control the development of vertebrate neurons. For many investigators working on this problem the chick embryo is the model system of choice and from these studies a picture of the steps involved in motor neuron generation has begun to emerge. These findings suggest that motor neuron generation is shaped by extracellular signals that regulate intrinsic, cell-autonomous determinants at sequential steps during development. The chick embryo has played a prominent role in identifying the sources of these signals, defining their molecular identities and determining the cell intrinsic programs they regulate.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Motor Neurons / cytology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Spinal Cord / embryology*
  • Spinal Cord / physiology