Background: The early telencephalon shares molecular features with the early mid-hindbrain region. In particular, these two developing brain areas each have a signaling center that secretes FGFs and an adjacent one that secretes WNTs. WNTs and FGFs each play essential roles in regulating cell fates in both the telencephalon and mid-hindbrain. Despite this similarity, telencephalic and mid-hindbrain precursors express distinct genes and ultimately generate different cell types, tissue morphologies, and neural functions.
Results: Here we show that genetically increasing the level of β-catenin, a mediator of canonical WNT signaling, in the anterior neural plate causes a loss of telencephalic characteristics and a gain of mid-hindbrain characteristics.
Conclusion: These results, together with previous ones demonstrating that increased WNT signaling in the anterior neural plate increases FGF expression, suggest that the levels of WNT and FGF signaling regulate telencephalic versus mid-hindbrain fates.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.