cMyc Regulates the Size of the Premigratory Neural Crest Stem Cell Pool

Cell Rep. 2016 Dec 6;17(10):2648-2659. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.11.025.


The neural crest is a transient embryonic population that originates within the central nervous system (CNS) and then migrates into the periphery and differentiates into multiple cell types. The mechanisms that govern neural crest stem-like characteristics and self-renewal ability are poorly understood. Here, we show that the proto-oncogene cMyc is a critical factor in the chick dorsal neural tube, where it regulates the size of the premigratory neural crest stem cell pool. Loss of cMyc dramatically decreases the number of emigrating neural crest cells due to reduced self-renewal capacity, increased cell death, and shorter duration of the emigration process. Interestingly, rather than via E-Box binding, cMyc acts in the dorsal neural tube by interacting with another transcription factor, Miz1, to promote self-renewal. The finding that cMyc operates in a non-canonical manner in the premigratory neural crest highlights the importance of examining its role at specific time points and in an in vivo context.

Keywords: CDKI; MYC; Miz1; cMyc; cell survival; chicken embryo; crestospheres; cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor; neural crest stem cell pool; neural crest stem cells; neurocristopathies; self-renewal.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / genetics
  • Cell Self Renewal / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Mice
  • Neural Crest / growth & development
  • Neural Crest / metabolism
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Neural Tube / growth & development
  • Neural Tube / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Inhibitors of Activated STAT / genetics*
  • Protein Inhibitors of Activated STAT / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • Stem Cells
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases


  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Protein Inhibitors of Activated STAT
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Miz1 protein, mouse
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases