Jesuthasan, S. (1996) Contact inhibition collapse and pathfinding of neural crest cells in the zebrafish trunk. Development (Cambridge, England). 122:381-389.
Neural crest cells in the trunk of vertebrate embryos have a choice of pathways after emigrating from the neural tube: they can migrate in either the medial pathway between somites and neural tube, or the lateral pathway between somites and epidermis. In zebrafish embryos, the first cells to migrate all choose the medial pathway. High resolution imaging of cells in living embryos suggests that neural crest cells do so because of repulsion by somites: cells take the medial pathway because the lateral somite surface triggers a paralysis and retraction of protrusions (contact inhibition or collapse) when the medial surface does not. Partial deletion of somites, using the spadetail mutation allows precocious entry into the lateral pathway, but only where somites are absent, supporting the notion that an inhibitory cue on somites delays entry. Growth cones of Rohon-Beard cells enter the lateral pathway before neural crest cells, demonstrating that there is no absolute barrier to migration. These data, in addition to providing a detailed picture of neural crest cells migrating in vivo, suggest that neural crest cells, like neuronal growth cones, are guided by a specific cue that triggers 'collapse' of active protrusions.