Spinal motor neurons must extend their axons into the periphery through motor exit points (MEPs), but their cell bodies remain within spinal motor columns. It is not known how this partitioning is established in development. We show here that motor neuron somata are confined to the CNS by interactions with a neural crest subpopulation, boundary cap (BC) cells that prefigure the sites of spinal MEPs. Elimination of BC cells by surgical or targeted genetic ablation does not perturb motor axon outgrowth but results in motor neuron somata migrating out of the spinal cord by translocating along their axons. Heterologous neural crest grafts in crest-ablated embryos stop motor neuron emigration. Thus, before the formation of a mature transitional zone at the MEP, BC cells maintain a cell-tight boundary that allows motor axons to cross but blocks neuron migration.
SciCrunch is a data sharing and display platform. Anyone can create a custom portal where they can select searchable subsets of hundreds of data sources, brand their web pages and create their community. SciCrunch will push data updates automatically to all portals on a weekly basis. User communities can also add their own data to SciCrunch, however this is not currently a free service.