Motor neuron-derived retinoid signaling specifies the subtype identity of spinal motor neurons

Cell. 1998 Aug 21;94(4):503-14. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81591-3.


The diversification of neuronal cell types in the vertebrate central nervous system depends on inductive signals provided by local organizing cell groups of both neural and nonneural origin. The influence of signals provided by postmitotic neurons on the fate of neurons born at subsequent development stages, however, remains unclear. We provide evidence that a retinoid-mediated signal provided by one subset of early-born spinal motor neurons imposes a local variation in the number of motor neurons generated at different axial levels and also specifies the identity of a later-born subset of motor neurons. Thus, in the vertebrate central nervous system the distinct fates of late-born neurons may be acquired in response to signals provided by early-born neurons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chick Embryo
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Forelimb / innervation
  • Gene Expression
  • Models, Neurological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Motor Neurons / cytology*
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • Retinal Dehydrogenase
  • Retinoids / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spinal Cord / embryology*
  • Stem Cells
  • Thoracic Nerves
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • Retinoids
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases
  • Retinal Dehydrogenase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF064253