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The distribution and spatial organization of the extracellular matrix encountered by mesencephalic neural crest cells.

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The Distribution and Spatial Organization of the
Extracellular Matrix Encountered by Mesencephalic
Neural Crest Cells
Department of Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226
Cephalic neural crest (NC) cells enter a cell-free space (CFS) that
contains a n abundant extracellular matrix (ECM). Numerous in vitro investigations
have shown that extracellular matrices can influence cellular activities including
NC cell migration. However, little is known about the actual ECM composition of
the CFS in vivo, how the components are distributed, or the nature of NC cell
interactions with the CFS matrix. Using ultrastructural, autoradiographic, and
histochemical techniques we analyzed the composition and spatial organization of
the ECM found in the CFS and its interaction with mesencephalic NC cells. We
have found that a specific distribution of glycoproteins and sulfated polyanions
existed within the CFS prior to the translocation of NC cells and that this ECM was
modified in areas occupied by NC. The interaction between the ECM components
and the NC cells was not the same for all NC cells in the population. Subpopulations
of the NC cell sheet became associated with ECM of the ectoderm (basal lamina)
while other NC cells became associated with the ECM of the CFS. Trailing NC cells
(NC cells that emerge after the initial appearance of NC cells) encountered a
modified ECM due to extensive matrix modifications by the passage of the initial
NC cell population.
Neural crest (NC) cells, which arise from the apex of sulfate, human plasma fibronectin) [Newgreen, 1982; Erfusing neural folds, are the major mesenchymal source for ickson and Turley, 1983; Rovasio et al., 19831. Although
the primordia of the head and neck [Johnston, 1966; Wes- these studies do provide information on NC cell behavior
ton, 1970; Noden, 19751. Dispersion of the pluripotential in culture, these in vitro conditions fall short of providing
cephalic NC cells is not random but rather temporally and an adequate model for the actual in vivo situation, where
spatially ordered. The mechanisms controlling the or- multiple matrical associations may occur. For instance,
dering appears to be under influence of the local environ- the association of NC cells with a specific component (e.g.,
ment, but how this occurs is not understood [Weston and fibronectin) may only reflect that NC cells prefer that
component to glass or denatured collagen and not that the
Butler, 1966; Noden, 1978a,b].
Cephalic NC cells emerge from the neural tube and en- particular ECM component is actually utilized for conter a narrowing cell-free space (CFS) bordered by ecto- tact in situ by NC cells. Also, nothing is known about the
derm, neural tube, and mesoderm [Pratt et al., 19751.The endogenous nature of sulfated GAG in this matrical comCFS contains abundant extracellular matrix (ECM), partment (i.e., are they in a proteoglycan or a free GAG
which has been circumstantially linked to morphoge- form), if glycoproteins other than fibronectin occur in the
netic activities in many developing systems [Bissell et al., CFS, or the actual conformational state of CFS matrix
19821. The only components of this particular ECM iden- moieties (i.e., posttranslational intermolecular associatified to date are hyaluronate, sulfated glycosaminogly- tions). Indeed, the spatial ordering and distribution of
cans (GAG), and fibronectin [Pratt et al., 1975; Bolender these components within the ECM may be as important
et al., 1980; Mayer et al., 1981; Newgreen and Thiery, to cell behavior in vivo, a s is the actual composition [Old19801.The basal laminae of the ectoderm and neural tube berg and Ruoslahti, 19821.
We have initiated a n investigation into the role of enare contiguous with the CFS. Whether or not the basal
lamina (BL) components extend into the CFS remains to dogenous ECM in the translocation of NC cells in avian
embryos. In this study, we examined morphologically and
be established.
Previous studies have examined NC cell attachment histocheniically the cortipositioti, orderirig, arid distriand migration on substrata coated with ECM compo- bution of ECM found in the CFS and any ECM modifinents isolated from various animals and body regions cations that accompanied the translocation of NC. Auto(e.g., rat tail type I collagen, human umbilical hyaluro- radiographic, histochemical, and ultrastructural technate, bovine nasal proteoglycans, shark chondroitin niques were used with fixatives that optimally preserve
Received October 19, 1983; accepted J u l y 25, 1984.
0 1985 ALAN R. LISS. INC.
TABLE 1. Matrix distribution, staining, and labeling in the cell-free space’
3-5 nm
30-40 nm
gr an u 1es
Prior to NC
Zone 1
Zone 2
ECM of the mesoderm
Areas occupied by NC
Zone 1
Zone 2
ECM of the mesoderm
’+ means present and - means absent or displaced. Abbreviations: BL, basal lamina; AM, basal lamina-associated
matrix; ECM, extracellular matrix.
‘Less abundant than Zone 1.
‘3-5 nm filaments found in less abundance
‘BL was present but thinned.
the ECM with a minimal sacrifice of cell morphology. We
found that a specific distribution of ECM components existedwithintheCFSpriortothe appearanceofNCcellsand
that this distribution was subsequently modified in areas
occupied by NC cells.
Recently, the controversy as to whether NC arrive at
their final destination through mechanisms of active vs.
passive (differential growth) means has arisen [Gasser,
1979; Nichols, 1983; Noden, 19841. This paper does not
deal directly with migratory mechanisms (active vs. passive) but is concerned with potential mechanisms that
might orient forming NC to selectively develop associations with adjacent tissues (surface ectoderm or “lateral
pathway,” neural tube or “ventral pathway”). Our working hypothesis is that the ECM provides the directional
cues necessary for the development of such associations.
Tissue Preparation
Fertilized white leghorn chicken eggs obtained from
the Texas A&M Poultry Science Department were incubated in a forced air incubator a t 38°C in 60% humidity.
Embryos corresponding to stages 8 through 10 (26-38
hr, Hamburger and Hamilton [ 19511 were removed from
the surface of the yolk and placed in warm (37°C) Tyrode’s balanced salt solution and the extraembryonic
membranes were removed. Embryos were fixed at room
temperature for 2 hr in 3% glutaraldehyde (in 0.1 M
sodium cacodylate buffer, pH 7.3) with or without the
addition of either 0.5% cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC)
or 2% tannic acid (both from Sigma, St. Louis, MO).
Embryos for transmission and scanning electron microscopy studies were postfixed in 1% osmium in 0.1 M
sodium cacodylate buffer for 2 hr. For transmission electron microscopy (TEM), specimens were embedded in
Polybed 812 after dehydration in graded alcohols, sectioned on a Reichert ultramicrotome, stained with lead
citrate and uranyl acetate, and examined on a Zeiss EM
10A. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) samples, after
dehydration, were critical-point dried in COz and then
dissected using tungsten needles or Scotch tape according to Tosney [ 19781. Specimens were then sputter-coated
with gold-palladium alloy and examined on a Hitachi
HS-500 scanning electron microscope at 20 KV.
Autoradiography and Histochemistry
Twenty microcuries of 6-3H-glucosamine, 50 pCi of
35S-sodium sulfate, or 20 pCi of 6-3H-L-fucose(19 Ci/
mmol, 975 mCi/mmol, 60 Cilmmol, respectively; all obtained from New England Nuclear, Boston, MA) were
applied in ovo onto the vitelline membrane of stage 8 or
9 embryos in 0.1 ml Tyrode’s solution and incubated for
5 hr, allowing a sufficient amount of time for the embryos to reach stage 9 or 10. Embryos were rinsed, fixed,
and embedded a s described and processed for light microscopic autoradiography. Sections, 1.5 pm thick, were
dipped in NTBS nuclear track emulsion (Kodak) diluted
1:1, and incubated 2-3 weeks prior to development of
the autoradiographs.
Embryos were collected at the appropriate stages,
fixed, and stained with colloidal iron (CI) (for light microscopy) or dialyzed iron (for TEM) a t pH 1.7 as described by Spicer et al. [1967] and Markwald et al. [1978].
At pH 1.7, the sulfate esters are ionized and the carboxy
groups suppressed, allowing the CI and dialyzed iron to
bind and thereby locate, histologically, areas containing
sulfate esters. Following the staining, the embryos were
embedded in Polybed 812, sectioned, and the CI staining
was examined with Zeiss Normarski-enhanced optics
and the dialyzed iron staining with a Zeiss EM 10A.
Concanavalin A (Con A) lectin was used as a probe to
localize a-D-mannose-and a-D-glucose-rich moieties of
the ECM. Embryos were fixed in 3% glutaraldehyde
with 0.5% CPC and rinsed in 0.1 M sodium cacodylate
buffer. Embryos were placed in 5% agar, tissue chopped
at 50 pm using a TC-2 Sorvall tissue chopper, and sections were rinsed in phosphate buffer, pH 7.4. Sections
were then placed in phosphate buffer containing 200 pgl
Fig 1 . TEM of a stage 8 embryo fixed in glutaraldehyde-CPC. The
contained the
CFS can be divided into two zones (arrows).Zone 1 (Z1)
ectodermal BL and was made of electron-dense material arranged in a
looping configuration (arrowheads).Subjacent were anastomosing electron-dense clusters of matrical material. Zone 2 (22) contained electron-dense material, 3-5 nm filaments, and 30-40 nm granules.
~5,200.E, ectoderm; M, mesoderm.
Fig. 2. SEM of ECM found in the CFS when fixed with glutaraldehyde-CPC. Strands of matrix spanned across the CFS (asterisk). Mesodermal cell processes often extended toward Zone 2. ~2,000.Inset,
matrix observed when tannic acid replaced CPC. The BL presented a
lamina lucida, a lamina densa (arrowhead), and associated interstitial
bodies (asterisk). Zone 2 matrix of the CFS was virtually absent.
Fig. 3. Higher magnification of matrical components of Zone 2 fixed
with glutaraldehyde-CPC. Electron-dense material (arrows) was en-
meshed in a network of 3-5 nm filaments and 30-40 nm granules
(arrowheads). x 46,900.
Fig. 4. Dialyzed iron stained the 30-40 nm granules indicating the
presence of ionized sulfate esters (arrowheads). Filaments show only
background staining. ~63,000.
Fig. 5. TEM demonstrating the relationship of mesodermal cell processes with the matrix of Zone 2; 3 0 4 0 nm granules were particularly
numerous in areas adjacent to mesoderm cells (arrowheads). ~32,600.
Fig. 6. SEM of the matrix found between mesoderm cells. Granules
studded the length of intercellular matrical strands and fibrils (arrowhead). ~7,620.
Fig. 9A,f3. TEM of the matrix-NC interface. Direction of NC movement from the neural tube
is indicated by the large black arrows. Electron-dense material more heavily coated the “leading surfaces” (hollow arrows) compared to the trailing surfaces of pioneering NC processes
(arrowheads). x 12,850 (A) and ~9,900(B).
ml Con A (Sigma, grade IV). Control sections were
treated with 200 pg/ml Con A and 0.1M a-methyl-Dmannose (Sigma) in phosphate buffer or with buffer
alone. All sections were allowed to incubate for 1 h r at
37°C on a shaker water bath. After incubation, the
sections were rinsed with buffer and agitated (three
changes in 1.5 hr). Localization of the bound Con A
lectin was sought by adding glycopeptidyl-ferritin (150
pg/ml; Polyscience, Inc., Warrington, PA Cat. No. 8742;
a glycosylated ferritin that binds only to Con A) to all
specimens at 37°C for 1hr with agitation. Tissues were
then rinsed in buffer (three changes in 1.5 hr), postfixed
in 1% osmium for 2 hr, and processed for TEM as described above. Specimens were thin sectioned, stained
with uranyl acetate only, and examined on a Zeiss EM
Figs. 7,8.Interaction of pioneering NC cells with the ECM of the
CFS. Leading edges of the NC cells were moving in the direction of the
large arrows relative to the neural tube (N). Inset, light micrograph of
a forming NC cell population (asterisk) comparable to that shown
above and below. Matrix of Zone 1 and Zone 2 has been altered or
displaced a t the NC front (arrowhead). x 195. 7, TEM of a leading cell
process of pioneering NC. The leading NC cell processes extended into
the electron-dense material above Zone 2 (bracket) and were coated
with electron-dense material (small arrow). Vesicles in these processes
contained material similar to the ECM (arrowheads). BL-associated
matrix of the CFS was diminished behind the leading cell processes
(asterisk). ~22,000.8, SEM of the matrix-NC interface. Note that the
ECM of the CFS (between the arrowheads) underlying the ectoderm
abruptly diminished at the NC front (between the arrows). ~3,200.
CFS Prior to the Appearance of NC
Prior to the appearance of mesencephalic NC cells
(stage 8 + to 9-), the CFS is bounded by the surface
ectoderm and neural tube and is partitioned by the
mesoderm cells into two channels: one between the surface ectoderm and underlying mesoderm and the other
lateral to the neural folds [Pratt et al., 1975; Bolender
et al., 19801. When glutaraldehyde with or without
tannic acid was employed as the fixative the channel
below the surface ectoderm contained both a BL, which
has traditionally been described as representing a lamina lucida, lamina densa, and interstitial bodies, and a
CFS containing fibrils (see Fig. 2, inset) [Bolender et al.,
1981; Tosney, 19821. Embryos fixed in glutaraldehyde
with the addition of 0.5% CPC preserved much more
ECM (i.e., CPC-dependent matrix; Fig. 2). The results
from this study are summarized in Table 1.
The CPC-dependent matrix was arbitrarily arranged
into two zones. The first zone (i.e., Zone 1)contained a n
ectodermal BL comprised of sheets of electron-dense material that merged into a single continuum and periodically exhibited a looping configuration (Figs. 1, 19).
Subjacent to the ectodermal BL was additional electrondense material arranged in interconnecting clusters (referred to in this study as BL-associated matrix). Zone 2,
which was much more extensive than the overlying
Zone 1, was characterized by electron-dense material
arranged into pleomorphic strands of variable length,
some extending the entire expanse of the CFS toward
the mesoderm. This electron-dense material became increasingly enmeshed within a network of 3-5 nm filaments and 30-40 nm granules in areas approaching the
mesoderm (Fig. 3). Mesodermal cell processes were observed extending into Zone 2 (Figs. 1,2,19). The 30-40
nm granules were particularly numerous in these areas
(Fig. 5,6).
At these stages, Zone 1did not stain with CI. However,
in Zone 2 positive CI staining of sulfate esters was found
in the same area where the 30-40 nm granules had
been primarily localized (Figs. 12A,B). At the ultrastructural level, the 30-40 nm granules in Zone 2 specifically
stained with dialyzed iron, demonstrating that they contained sulfate esters (Fig. 4).
Autoradiographic localization of incorporated sulfated
label was found in both Zone 1 and Zone 2 (Fig. 17A),
both prior to and after the appearance of NC. Mesodermal intercellular spaces were also heavily labeled with
sulfate as were cells of the neural tube, their associated
BL, and the extracellular space surrounding the notochord.
Localization of 3H-glucosamine label was observed in
Zone 1, Zone 2, and intercellular spaces of the mesoderm
population (Fig. 15A). Labeling was especially heavy
lateral to the fusing neural folds. 3;3-fucose (incorporated into glycoproteins) [Coffey et al., 19641 labeling
coincided with the distribution of the electron-dense material seen ultrastructurally in both zones (Fig. 16A).
Incorporation was heaviest in Zone 1 with a decreasing
concentration of silver grains found throughout Zone 2
as the strands spanned the CFS toward the mesoderm.
Con A binding sites were primarily localized in Zone 1
on the external surfaces of the electron-dense material
(Fig. 18). The addition of a competing saccharride or
omission of the lectin, consistently diminished the
Initial Appearance of NC
Chick NC cells emerge from the apex of the fusing
mesencephalic neural folds at stage 9+ to 10- as a
sheet of cells (Inset Figs. 7 3 ) and enter the CFS. The
pioneering NC cells (i.e., those at the leading edge of the
NC sheet) were found in Zone 1 dorsal to the interface
between the CI-negative matrix of Zone 1 and the CIpositive matrix of Zone 2 (Figs. 13AJ3B).
Concomitant with the appearance of NC cells, the
majority of the CPC-dependent matrix found in Zone 1
and Zone 2 was abruptly diminished or rearranged at
the leading edge of the NC cell population (Figs. 7,8). In
areas occupied by the NC population, the BL of Zone 1
appeared greatly thinned (Fig. 111, whereas much of the
BL-associated matrix became affiliated with pioneering
NC cell surfaces resulting in its depletion from the extracellular space (Figs. 7,9). Cell processes of pioneering
NC often exhibited cell surface invaginations with associated microfilaments, microtubules, and vesicles containing material resembling the BL electron-dense
material (Figs. 7,101.
Autoradiographic studies also indicated that Zone 1
matrix was modified or displaced by the NC cells. Both
3H-fucose-and 3H-glucosamine-labeled matrix accumulated on NC cell pericellular domains (Figs. 15B,16B).
This rcduction or modification was particularly striking
with 3H-glucosamine-labeled tissue. Intracellular labeling was not heavy for either precursor. Zone 2 was less
modified except for that portion in direct contact with
NC cells. 35S-sulfate, unlike the other labeled precur-
Fig. 10. TEM of an NC cell. Cell surface invaginations contained
matrical material (arrow) and associated intracellular microtubules
and microfilaments (arrowheads). X43,900.
Fig. 11. TEM of the BL and associated matrix in areas occupied by
NC cells. BL and associated loops (arrowheads) were greatly thinned
when compared to those before NC interaction (cf. Fig. 7). Also, the
electron-dense material of BL-associated matrix is almost completely
absent in extracellular regions occupied by the NC cell population
(asterisk). x 10,600.
sors, was not extensively associated with NC cell surfaces or diminished from the extracellular space
(Fig. 17B).
In areas occupied by NC cells, the BL of Zone 1, which
had not previously stained with CI, did so after encountering the NC cells (Figs. 14A,B). This newly acquired
positive CI staining of the BL was found within two or
three cell lengths behind the leading edge of pioneering
Figs. 12-14. CI staining a t p€I 1.7 prior to and after the initial
appearance of NC cells. 12(A,B), prior to the appearance of NC, CI
staining is localized on the mesodermal cell surfaces (arrows), the ECM
of the mesoderm, and Zone 2 (asterisk). Zone 1 (between the arrowheads) did not stain with CI. Both x 3,600. 13(A,B), arrow indicates
direction of NC movement from the neural tube. Note that cells are
situated between the CI-negative matrix of Zone 1 and CI-positive
matrix of Zone 2. CI staining was also found along the ventral surface
of the NC sheet (arrowheads). ~ 3 , 6 0 0(A) and ~ 2 , 0 5 003).14(A,B),
modifications in CI staining of the matrix in areas occupied by NC.
Note the BL of Zone 1, which prior to NC interaction did not stain with
CI (cf. Fig. 13A,B),is now reactive (arrowheads).Both ~ 3 , 6 0 0 .
Figs. 15-17. Autoradiographs prior to and after the appearance of appearance of NC cells is greatest in Zone 1 (arrowhead) with fewer
the outline of fucose
NC cells, when incubated 5 hr in ovo with 3H-glucosamine, .%L- grains localized in Zone 2 (arrows). ~ 3 2 0 16(B),
fucose, or 35S-sodium sulfate precursors, respectively. 15(A), glucosa- labeling found in Zone 1 is disrupted by NC (arrowheads). ~ 6 5 017(A),
mine label is primarily localized in the ECM of both Zone 1 and Zone sulfate incorporation occurred in both Zone 1 and Zone 2 in areas not
2 prior to the appearance of NC cells (arrowheads). ~ 4 3 0 15(B),
glucos- yet occupied by NC cells. Mesoderm cells and their intercellular spaces
amine labeling of Zone 1 and Zone 2 in areas occupied by NC was were also labeled as well as the neural tube. X330. 17(B), during the
diminished when compared to the matrix not yet occupied by NC translocation of NC cells, sulfate label did not appear to be altered by
(arrowhead). Little label was found in the extracellular space among the NC. x320.
NC cell populations. x300. 16(A), incorporation of fucose prior to the
Fig. 18A,B. Localization of Con A binding. A, using glutaraldehydeCPC fixation, Con A binding was found to preferentially bind to the
electron-dense material of the BL (arrowheads) and of the associated
matrix (arrow). ~61,000.B, control. Competive saccharide was added
along with Con A lectin during the first step of indirect labeling (see
Methods). Note the reduction in labeling of electron dense material in
Zone 1. ~61,000
NC cells. Matrix located ventral to the NC sheet that
persisted after encountering NC cells continued to stain
with CI and incorporate labeled precursors (sulfate, fucose, and glucosamine).
rolyticus hyaluronidase digestion [Bolender et al., 1981J,
a n enzyme specific for hyaluronate [Yamada, 19731. Purified hyaluronate, when fixed in a manner similar to the
one used in this study and processed for TEM, takes the
form of 3-5 nm filaments [Markwald et al., 19791. Thus,
these 3-5 nm filaments identified in Zone 2 may constitute an ultrastructural representation of hyaluronate
since hyaluronate has been previously identified in the
CFS autoradiographically [Pratt et al., 19751 and histochemically [Bolender et al., 19801.
Another GAG previously identified in the CFS is chondroitin sulfate [Bolender et al., 19801. In this study,
chondroitin sulfate appeared to be localized to 30-40 nm
granules identified by their sensitivity to testicular hyaluronidase [Bolender et al., 19811 and capacity to bind
dialyzed iron a t pH 1.7. In the developing heart [Markwald et al., 19781 and blastula [Solursh and Katow,
19821 such granules were identified a s proteoglycans.
Indeed, chrondroitin sulfate has generally been reported, whenever studied, to be in the form of a proteoglycan [Hascall and Sajdera, 1970; Norling et al., 1978;
Ehrlich, 1981; Vogel and Petersen, 19811. Whether or
not the 3040 nm granules reported in this study con-
In this study, CPC, a quaternary salt of pyridine and
cetyl chloride, was used to retain maximally the ECM
in a consistent, reproducible manner [Kvist and Finnegan, 19701. Preliminary experiments using a n alternative form of fixation (i.e., cryopreservation) [Kitten et
al., 19811 indicated a close correlation between CPC
fixation and nonchemically preserved matrix. Both of
these methods retained more material in the CFS than
is seen with other conventional fixation procedures (e.g.,
aldehyde fixes with or without tannic acids) [Singley
and Solursh, 19801. Figure 19 represents a summary of
the ECM distribution found prior to and after the initial
appearance of NC using CPC.
The present results indicate zonal differences in the
distribution of the matrical components found in the
mesencephalon. The 3-5 nm filaments of the CFS were
previously shown to be sensitive to Streptomyces hyalu-
Fig. 19. Schematic representation of the distribution of matrical
components found in the CFS and their relationship to NC. Zone 1,
which did not stain with CI, contained the BL and associated matrix
(AM) and consisted of electron-dense material (represented by the
black clusters). Zone 2 stained with CI and consisted of electron-dense
material enmeshed in a network of 3-5 nm filaments (represented by
fine interdigitating lines) and surrounded by 30-40 nm granules (represented by the open circles). The NC occupied Zone 1; electron-dense
material was found on the leading edge of pioneering NC cell processes
with little or no matrix found in the extracellular spaces of trailing
cells. Behind the leading NC cell front, the BL was thinned and stained
with CI broken lines).
tain protein has not yet been determined. However, any
future in vitro studies on the biological effects of chondroitin sulfate should take into consideration chondroitin sulfate’s aggregation into larger molecular units.
The distribution of 30-40 nm granules and CI staining
reported here suggests that mesencephalic NC cells do
not associate with areas that are high in sulfated polyanions (e.g., Zone 2 and the intercellular spaces of the
mesoderm). In the trunk region, the majority of the NC
cells utilize the ventral pathway (i.e., along the BL of
the neural tube) [Pintar, 19781. Pintar [1978] showed
that GAG resistant to Streptomyces hyalurolyticus hyaluronidase but sensitive to chondroitinase ABC occurs
at higher levels in the CFS under the ectoderm (lateral
pathway). Using ruthenium red to preserve matrix,
Newgreen et al. [1982] found that NC do not initially
migrate into trunk areas rich in granules, which appear
similar to those described in this study. Conversely, the
NC pathway in the head region (i.e., under the ectoderm) has been shown to be hyaluronate-rich and sulfate-poor [Pratt et al., 1975), whereas the areas that NC
do not enter (i.e., the cranial mesoderm, the area adjacent to the notochord, and the ventral portion of the
neural tube) are sulfate-rich [Pratt et al., 1975; Bolender
et al., 19801.
The electron-dense material observed in this study
resembled the interstitial bodies found in the pathway
of trunk NC described by Mayer et al. [ 19811 as containing fibronectin. Comparable matrical structures found
in the developing heart were trypsin-sensitive and labeled with 3H-fucose [Hay and Markwald, 19811. Con A
binding to the electron-dense material is suggestive that
this material contained glycoproteins. The codistribution of 3H-fucoseand 3H-glucosarnine incorporation with
the electron-dense material is consistent with a possible
glycoprotein identification.
The only extracellular glycoprotein of the CFS identified at present in avian embryos is one that immunologically cross-reacts with plasma fibronectin antibody
[Newgreen and Thiery, 1980;Mayer et al., 1981; Duband
and Thiery, 19821. However, confirmation of a 180-220
KD glycoprotein isolated from the CFS has not been
established. Although plasma fibronectin has been
shown to enhance NC cell attachment to collagen and
increase cell locomotion in vitro [Greenburg et al., 1981;
Erickson and Turley, 1983; Rovasio et al., 19831. NC
cells themselves do not synthesize or secrete fibronectin
[Loring et al., 1977; Newgreen and Thiery, 1980; SieberBlum et al., 19811. NC cells may become associated with
the BL not so much because of a repulsion to sulfated
macromolecules but rather because fibronectin or other
glycoproteins (e.g., laminin) may be included within the
electron-dense material. The observations that cranial
NC pathways appear rich in interstitial bodies [Tosney,
19821, the occurrence of frequent contacts between the
BL and NC cell processes, and the accumulations of
electron-dense material on NC cell surfaces observed in
this study support this possibility.
Since the interaction of fibronectin with umbilical hyaluronate, chondroitin sulfate, or cartilage proteoglycan
strongly inhibited NC cell adhesion and migration in
culture [Newgreen, 1982; Erickson and Turley, 19831,
we suggest that the most likely basis for the preferential
association of NC with cranial ectoderm is that the
ectodermal BL components facilitate attachment. Conversely, the mesodermally associated matrix, rich in
sulfated GAG and hyaluronate, may inhibit attachment
or promote detachment. Investigation of this hypothesis
will require further characterization of the matrical
composition and future in vitro studies utilizing isolated
endogenous matrices and tissues.
One of the most significant observations of the study
was that CI staining of the BL and immediate subjacent
matrix (i.e., Zone 1)prior to the appearance of NC was
not observed even though such structures labeled with
35S-sulfate. It seems unlikely that this was a n artefact
due to a penetration problem since the embryo remained
intact during the processing and staining procedures
and therefore the CI must have first passed through
Zone 1 to reach inner areas of the embryo that stained
positively. The explanation for the absence of CI staining in Zone 1 where sulfate had been incorporated may
be that 35S-sulfate incorporation is a more sensitive
method of detection or, more likely, that the sulfate
groups were masked from CI dye molecules (i.e., sulfate
groups were ionically linked or complexed with other
matrical components). One such component that could
have masked sulfated matrix was the ectodermal electron-dense material in Zone 1 tentatively identified as
glycoprotein. Identification of the sulfated polyanion that
stained with CI in areas occupied by NC cells was not
established; possibilities include heparan sulfate proteoglycan (identified in other BL [Kanwar and Farquhar,
1979; Hassell et al., 19801or sulfated glycoproteins such
as entactin [Carlin et al., 19811. In prior light microscopic histochemistry studies [Bolender et al., 19801,
sulfated polyanions were found beneath the ectoderm
that were testicular hyaluronidase-resistant and stained
with alcian blue (pH. 5.7) at high MgCl2 concentrations
(0.6 M)indicating the presence of polyanions more highly
sulfated than chondroitin sulfate. Therefore, the acquired CI staining of sulfated polyanions in Zone 1 is
probably not chondroitin sulfate. Alternatively, these
modifications i n sulfate staining may reflect synthesis
of new matrical components by NC [Greenburg and
Pratt, 1977; Pintar, 19781.
Other investigators have noted changes in ECM with
the passage of NC cells. Tosney [1982] reported a decrease in the number of interstitial bodies in areas occupied by NC in situ. However, the nature of the
interstitial bodies in this region was not determined. In
our studies, the primary ECM component modified in
areas occupied by NC cells was the electron-dense material tentatively identified as glycoprotein. Much of
this material appeared to become associated with pericellular surfaces of the NC cells suggesting that, if ECM
influences the pathways taken by NC or their differentiation, glycoproteins may play an active role. The ultimate significance of the matrix modifications observed
in this study is as yet unclear. Weston and co-workers
[Weston, 1981; Weston et al., 19781 have suggested that
the environment may change in its ability to support
NC motility during embryogenesis. By modifying matrix, pioneering NC themselves may limit the translocation of trailing NC cells (Fig. 19)and thus ultimately
provide the mechanism terminating the initial dispersion of NC cells.
The data indicate that the NC cell surfaces within the
NC population may differ in their ECM associations
(i.e., the dorsal layer of NC interacting with the ectoderma1 matrix and the ventral layer with the matrix of
Zone 2; Fig. 19). Again, any studies on ECM interaction
with NC should allow for this possibility. Evidence has
accumulated suggesting that different subpopulations of
NC exist at the time the NC leave the neural tube
[Cohen, 1977; Cochard and Cotley, 19831. Hence, in vitro
observations of migrating NC on flat substrates previously conditioned with a single or exogenous matrix
component may artificially select out a specific subpopulation of NC cells. This serves as a caveat when correlating isolated in vitro observations to the more complex,
heterogenous in vivo situation.
The data presented suggest that through the specific
distribution of ECM components NC become associated
with particular surrounding tissues (surface ectoderm
vs. neural tube). Once NC are associated with these
tissues, they may influence NC movement. Whether NC
move actively or passively has not been resolved, but
experiments are in progress that will determine this.
The authors gratefully acknowledge Stephen Sickerman for the preparation of Figure 19, Tony Frisbie for
his photographic assistance, Makiko Hartman for her
technical assistance, and Carol McLain for her clerical
assistance. This research was supported by NIDR grant
No. DE04603.
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encounter, crest, matrix, distributions, mesencephalic, extracellular, neural, organization, spatial, cells
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