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Thymus organogenesis requires coordinated interactions of multiple cell types, including neural crest (NC) cells, to orchestrate the formation, separation, and subsequent migration of the developing thymus from the third pharyngeal pouch to the thoracic cavity. The molecular mechanisms driving these processes are unclear; however, NC-derived mesenchyme has been shown to play an important role. Here, we show that, in the absence of ephrin-B2 expression on thymic NC-derived mesenchyme, the thymus remains in the cervical area instead of migrating into the thoracic cavity. Analysis of individual NC-derived thymic mesenchymal cells shows that, in the absence of ephrin-B2, their motility is impaired as a result of defective EphB receptor signaling. This implies a NC-derived cell-specific role of EphB-ephrin-B2 interactions in the collective migration of the thymic rudiment during organogenesis.

Original publication

DOI

10.1073/pnas.1003747107

Type

Journal article

Journal

Proc natl acad sci u s a

Publication Date

27/07/2010

Volume

107

Pages

13414 - 13419

Keywords

Animals, Cell Movement, Embryo, Mammalian, Ephrin-B2, Female, Flow Cytometry, Immunohistochemistry, Male, Mesoderm, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Microscopy, Confocal, Nervous System, Organogenesis, Protein Binding, Receptors, Eph Family, Thymus Gland