The role of the adherens junction protein alphaN-catenin in neural crest-derived trigeminal ganglia formation
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Neural crest cells (NCCs), a transient, multipotent population of cells that arise during neurulation, are a class of cells crucial to normal vertebrate development. NCCs must be tightly regulated by molecular and structural cues to de-adhere from the neural tube, migrate to their final destinations in the developing embryo, and differentiate to contribute to a variety of structures throughout the adult body. αN-catenin is the neural subtype of an adherens junction protein found in the apical region of premigratory NCCs, and plays an important role in controlling early phases of NCC migration. Although down-regulation of αN-catenin is critical for initial stages of NCC migration, the functional role of αN-catenin in later NCC migration and differentiation remains elusive. In this study, we investigate the spatio-temporal expression pattern of αN-catenin and elucidate effects on NCC movement and contribution to the trigeminal ganglia after perturbation of αN-catenin in the premigratory NCC population.