Active signals, gradient formation and regional specificity in neural induction.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The question of how the vertebrate embryo gives rise to a nervous system is of paramount interest in developmental biology. Neural induction constitutes the earliest step in this process and is tightly connected with development of the embryonic body axes. In the Xenopus embryo, perpendicular gradients of BMP and Wnt signals pattern the dorsoventral and anteroposterior body axes. Both pathways need to be inhibited to allow anterior neural induction to occur. FGF8 and IGF are active neural inducers that together with BMP and Wnt signals are integrated at the level of Smad 1/5/8 phosphorylation. Hedgehog (Hh) also contributes to anterior neural induction. Suppressor-of-fused plays an important role in intertwining the Hh and Wnt pathways. Distinct mechanisms are discussed that establish morphogen gradients and integrate retinoic acid and FGF signals during posterior development. These findings not only improve our understanding of regional specification in neural induction, but have profound implications for mammalian stem cell research and regenerative medicine.


  • Edgar Pera
  • Helena Acosta
  • Nadège Gouignard
  • Maria Climent
  • Igor Arregi
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-31
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch

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