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, 130 (6-8), 324-9

Resolved and Open Issues in Chromaffin Cell Development


Resolved and Open Issues in Chromaffin Cell Development

Klaus Unsicker et al. Mech Dev.


Ten years of research within the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Grant SFB 488 at the University of Heidelberg have added many new facets to our understanding of chromaffin cell development. Glucocorticoid signaling is no longer the key for understanding the determination of the chromaffin phenotype, yet a novel role has been attributed to glucocorticoids: they are essential for the postnatal maintenance of adrenal and extra-adrenal chromaffin cells. Transcription factors, as, e.g. MASH1 and Phox2B, have similar, but also distinct functions in chromaffin and sympathetic neuronal development, and BMP-4 not only induces sympathoadrenal (SA) cells at the dorsal aorta and within the adrenal gland, but also promotes chromaffin cell maturation. Chromaffin cells and sympathetic neurons share a common progenitor in the dorsal neural tube (NT) in vivo, as revealed by single cell electroporations into the dorsal NT. Thus, specification of chromaffin cells is likely to occur after cell emigration either during migration or close to colonization of the target regions. Mechanisms underlying the specification of chromaffin cells vs. sympathetic neurons are currently being explored.

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