Stem cells, signals and vertebrate body axis extension

Valerie Wilson, Isabel Olivera-Martinez, Kate G. Storey

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    215 Citations (Scopus)


    The progressive generation of chick and mouse axial tissues the spinal cord, skeleton and musculature of the body - has long been proposed to depend on the activity of multipotent stem cells. Here, we evaluate evidence for the existence and multipotency of axial stem cells. We show that although the data strongly support their existence, there is little definitive information about their multipotency or extent of contribution to the axis. We also review the location and molecular characteristics of these putative stem cells, along with their evolutionary conservation in vertebrates and the signalling mechanisms that regulate and arrest axis extension.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1591-1604
    Number of pages14
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2009


    • Fibroblast growth factor
    • Ventral ectodermal ridge
    • Xenopus tail bud
    • Retinoic acid homeostasis
    • Early chick embryo
    • Mouse embryo
    • Paraxial mesoderm
    • Spinal cord
    • Segmentation clock
    • Neural induction


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