Mesoderm movement and fate during avian gastrulation and neurulation

Dev Dyn. 1992 Mar;193(3):235-48. doi: 10.1002/aja.1001930304.


Quail/chick transplantation chimeras were constructed during stages of gastrulation and neurulation to follow the subsequent movement and fate of cells of the primitive streak. All grafts were placed solely within the confines of the primitive streak to prevent confusion between cells that had not yet ingressed and those that had already ingressed, and transplanted cells were distinguished from host cells on the basis of a naturally occurring cell marker. Pathways of movement of ingressing cells corresponded to their level of residence within the primitive streak. Cells residing within Hensen's node (the cranial end of the primitive streak) initially migrated mainly cranially, remaining on or near the midline, and then extended caudally along the midline as regression of Hensen's node occurred. Cells residing within the nodus posterior (the caudal end of the primitive streak) migrated caudally. Cells residing at levels of the primitive streak between Hensen's node and the nodus posterior typically migrated bilaterally, confirming that such cells had not already ingressed prior to their transplantation (in which case, they would have migrated unilaterally). Subsets of these cells residing at progressively more caudal levels of the primitive streak migrated incrementally more laterally. Hensen's node contributed cells to the gut endoderm, head mesenchyme, notochord, and median hinge-point (MHP) cells of the neural tube (future floor plate). At younger stages (i.e., stages 3a, 3b) Hensen's node contributed cells to principally the foregut endoderm and head mesenchyme, whereas at older stages (i.e., stages 3c, 3d, 4), it contributed cells to principally the notochord and MHP region. The remaining segments of the cranial half of the primitive streak contributed cells to the various mesodermal subdivisions of the embryo, and the lengths of the segments forming these subdivisions were estimated. The most cranial level of the streak (directly behind Hensen's node) contributed cells to the most medial mesodermal subdivisions (head mesenchyme, somites) and consecutively more caudal levels of the streak contributed cells to sequentially more lateral mesodermal subdivisions (intermediate mesoderm, lateral plate mesoderm). The caudal half of the primitive streak contributed cells to the extraembryonic mesoderm, with the nodus posterior contributing to the most caudal extraembryonic mesoderm, including the blood islands. Our results confirm and extend the previous avian prospective fate maps, increasing our understanding of the movement and fate of cells of the gastrula and neurula stages.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chimera
  • Coturnix
  • Culture Techniques
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gastrula / physiology*
  • Mesoderm / physiology*
  • Microsurgery
  • Nervous System / embryology*


  • Fluorescent Dyes