Neural-fated self-renewing cells regulated by Sox2 during secondary neurulation in chicken tail bud

Dev Biol. 2020 May 15;461(2):160-171. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2020.02.007. Epub 2020 Feb 12.


In amniotes, unlike primary neurulation in the anterior body, secondary neurulation (SN) proceeds along with axial elongation by the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition of SN precursors in the tail bud. It has been under debate whether the SN is generated by neuromesodermal common progenitor cells (NMPs) or neural restricted lineage. Our direct cell labeling and serial transplantations identify uni-fated (neural) precursors in the early tail bud. The uni-fated SN precursor territory is further divided into two subpopulations, neural-differentiating and self-renewing cells, which are regulated by high- and low levels of Sox2, respectively. Unexpectedly, uni-fated SN precursors change their fate at later stages to produce both SN and mesoderm. Thus, chicken embryos adopt a previously unappreciated prolonged phase with uni-fated SN stem cells in the early tail bud, which is absent or very limited in mouse embryos.

Keywords: Chicken embryo; Secondary neurulation; Sox2; Stem cells; Tail bud.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Self Renewal / physiology*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chickens / genetics*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neural Tube / cytology
  • Neural Tube / embryology*
  • Neurulation / genetics
  • Neurulation / physiology*
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / genetics
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Tail / cytology
  • Tail / embryology*


  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors