Localised axial progenitor cell populations in the avian tail bud are not committed to a posterior Hox identity

Mike McGrew, Adrian Sherman, Simon Lillico, F. M. Ellard, P. A. Radcliffe, Hazel Gilhooley, K. A. Mitrophanous, N. Cambray, V. Wilson, H. Sang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The outgrowth of the vertebrate tail is thought to involve the proliferation of regionalised stem/progenitor cell populations formed during gastrulation. To follow these populations over extended periods, we used cells from GFP-positive transgenic chick embryos as a source for donor tissue in grafting experiments. We determined that resident progenitor cell populations are localised in the chicken tail bud. One population, which is located in the chordoneural hinge (CNH), contributes descendants to the paraxial mesoderm, notochord and neural tube, and is serially transplantable between embryos. A second population of mesodermal progenitor cells is located in a separate dorsoposterior region of the tail bud, and a corresponding population is present in the mouse tail bud. Using heterotopic transplantations, we show that the fate of CNH cells depends on their environment within the tail bud. Furthermore, we show that the anteroposterior identity of tail bud progenitor cells can be reset by heterochronic transplantation to the node region of gastrula-stage chicken embryos.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2289-2299
Number of pages11
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Progenitor cell
  • Tail bud
  • Chordoneural hinge
  • Hox genes
  • Transgenic chicken


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