Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) bind to a subset of growth factors on the surface of cells and elicit responses with broad roles in developmental and postnatal cellular processes. Receptors in this subclass consist of an extracellular ligand-binding domain, a single transmembrane domain, and an intracellular domain harboring a catalytic tyrosine kinase and regulatory sequences that are phosphorylated either by the receptor itself or by various interacting proteins. Once activated, RTKs bind signaling molecules and recruit effector proteins to mediate downstream cellular responses through various intracellular signaling pathways. In this chapter, we highlight the role of a subset of RTK families in regulating the activity of neural crest cells (NCCs) and the development of their derivatives in mammalian systems. NCCs are migratory, multipotent cells that can be subdivided into four axial populations, cranial, cardiac, vagal, and trunk. These cells migrate throughout the vertebrate embryo along defined pathways and give rise to unique cell types and structures. Interestingly, individual RTK families often have specific functions in a subpopulation of NCCs that contribute to the diversity of these cells and their derivatives in the mammalian embryo. We additionally discuss current methods used to investigate RTK signaling, including genetic, biochemical, large-scale proteomic, and biosensor approaches, which can be applied to study intracellular signaling pathways active downstream of this receptor subclass during NCC development.
Keywords: Allelic series; Biosensors; Growth factor; Mass spectrometry; Mouse; Neural crest; Phospho-antibodies; Proteomics; Receptor tyrosine kinase.
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