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AKT signaling displays multifaceted functions in neural crest development

Sittewelle, Méghane, Monsoro-Burq, Anne H.
Developmental biology 2018 v.444 pp. S144
adults, animal models, cell movement, cell proliferation, ectoderm, fibroblast growth factor receptors, fish, frogs, homeostasis, human diseases, integrins, mesoderm, mice, neural crest, platelet-derived growth factor receptors, tissues
AKT signaling is an essential intracellular pathway controlling cell homeostasis, cell proliferation and survival, as well as cell migration and differentiation in adults. Alterations impacting the AKT pathway are involved in many pathological conditions in human disease. Similarly, during development, multiple transmembrane molecules, such as FGF receptors, PDGF receptors or integrins, activate AKT to control embryonic cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, and also cell fate decisions. While many studies in mouse embryos have clearly implicated AKT signaling in the differentiation of several neural crest derivatives, information on AKT functions during the earliest steps of neural crest development had remained relatively scarce until recently. However, recent studies on known and novel regulators of AKT signaling demonstrate that this pathway plays critical roles throughout the development of neural crest progenitors. Non-mammalian models such as fish and frog embryos have been instrumental to our understanding of AKT functions in neural crest development, both in neural crest progenitors and in the neighboring tissues. This review combines current knowledge acquired from all these different vertebrate animal models to describe the various roles of AKT signaling related to neural crest development in vivo. We first describe the importance of AKT signaling in patterning the tissues involved in neural crest induction, namely the dorsal mesoderm and the ectoderm. We then focus on AKT signaling functions in neural crest migration and differentiation.