The neural crest and craniofacial placodes are two distinct progenitor populations that arise at the border of the vertebrate neural plate. This border region develops through a series of inductive interactions that begins before gastrulation and progressively divide embryonic ectoderm into neural and non-neural regions, followed by the emergence of neural crest and placodal progenitors. In this review, we describe how a limited repertoire of inductive signals-principally FGFs, Wnts and BMPs-set up domains of transcription factors in the border region which establish these progenitor territories by both cross-inhibitory and cross-autoregulatory interactions. The gradual assembly of different cohorts of transcription factors that results from these interactions is one mechanism to provide the competence to respond to inductive signals in different ways, ultimately generating the neural crest and cranial placodes.
Keywords: Competence; Induction; Neural crest; Placode; Transcription factor.
© 2013 Published by Elsevier Inc.