The role of SLIT2 in the migration and guidance of trunk neural crest cells

Neural crest cells emerge by delamination from the dorsal neural tube and give rise to various components of the peripheral nervous system in vertebrate embryos. The cells change from non-motile into highly motile cells migrating to distant areas before further differentiation. Mechanisms controlling delamination and migration of neural crest cells are not fully understood. Neural crest cells originating in the trunk region do not migrate into the developing gut while those at the vagal region will populate the gut. Slit2, a chemorepellent for axonal guidance, repels and stimulates motility of trunk neural crest cells during migration away from the gut. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of Slit2 in trunk neural crest cell migration. Via electroporation, pre-migratory neural crest cells were manipulated to either inhibit or express constitutively Slit2. In situ hybridization was performed on Slit2 knockout mice for neural crest using SoxlO. We looked for a phenotypic effect on migration and delamination. Data images suggest Slit2 over expression impairs cell motility and alters morphology after neural tube delamination in vertebrate embryos. Inhibition of Slit2 via Morpholinos suggests early delamination of trunk neural crest cells. Our data indicates that Slit2 plays a role in neural crest delamination and migration.