In vertebrates, neural crest cells (NCCs) are a multipotent embryonic population generating both neural/neuronal and mesenchymal derivatives, and thus the neural crest (NC) is often referred to as the fourth germ layer. NC development is a dynamic process, where NCCs possess substantial plasticity in transcriptional and epigenomic profiles. Recent technical advances in single-cell and low-input sequencing have empowered fine-resolution characterisation of NC development. In this review, we summarise the latest models underlying NC-plasticity acquirement and cell-fate restriction, outline the connections between NC plasticity and NC-derived cancer and envision the new opportunities in studying NC plasticity and its link to cancer.
Curr Opin Genet Dev
Animals, Cell Differentiation, Cell Plasticity, Humans, Neoplasms, Neural Crest, Neurogenesis