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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Culture conditions affect the cholinergic development of an isolated subpopulation of chick mesencephalic neural crest cells.

Although neural crest cells are known to be very responsive to environmental cues during their development, recent evidence indicates that at least some subpopulations may be committed to a specific differentiation program prior to migration. Because the neural crest is composed of a heterogeneous mixture of cells that contributes to many vertebrate cell lineages, assessing the properties of specific subpopulations and the effect of the environment on their development has been difficult. To address this problem, we have isolated a pure subpopulation of chick mesencephalic neural crest cells by fluorescence no-flow cytometry after labeling them with monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) to a 75-kDa cell surface antigen that is associated with high affinity choline uptake. When cultures of chick mesencephalic neural crest cells are labeled with these Mabs and a fluorescent second step antibody, approximately 5% of the cells are antigen-positive (A+). After sorting, 100% of the resulting cultured mesencephalic neural crest cells are A+. The Mabs we used also label all of the neurons of the embryonic chick and quail ciliary ganglion in vivo and in vitro. We have compared the effect of various cell culture media on the isolated neural crest subpopulation and the heterogeneous chick mesencephalic neural crest from which it was derived. A+ cells were passaged and grown in a variety of media, each of which differently affected its characteristics and development. A+ cells proliferated in the presence of 15% fetal bovine serum (FBS) and high concentrations (10-15%) of chick embryo extract, but did not differentiate, although they retained basal levels of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity. However, in chick serum and high (25 mM as opposed to 7 mM) K+, and heart-, iris-, or lung-conditioned medium, all of which are known to promote survival and/or cholinergic development of ciliary ganglion neurons, the cells ceased to proliferate and all of the cells in the culture became "neuron-like" within 10 days. No neuron-like cells were found in liver-, notocord-, or neural tube-conditioned media if FBS was used. When A+ cells were eliminated either by complement-mediated cytotoxicity or by laser-ablating A+ cells during no-flow cytometry, all ChAT activity was also eliminated, and no neuron-like cells or ChAT activity was found in cultures during a subsequent 3-week culture period.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


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