Numerous roles have been identified for extracellular signals such as Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs), Transforming Growth Factor-βs (TGFβs), Wingless-Int proteins (WNTs), and Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) in assigning fates to cells during development of the cerebrum. However, several fundamental questions remain largely unexplored. First, how does the same extracellular signal instruct precursor cells in different locations or at different stages to adopt distinct fates? And second, how does a precursor cell integrate multiple signals to adopt a specific fate? Answers to these questions require knowing the mechanisms that underlie each cell type's competence to respond to certain extracellular signals. This brief review provides illustrative examples of potential mechanisms that begin to bridge the gap between cell surface and cell fate during cerebrum development.
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