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neural crest cell maturation vs. specific cell type differentiation

Doug howe dhowe at
Thu Mar 16 12:29:57 PST 2006

Well stated David!

The thing that I'm still not clear on then is what the "X cell 
maturation" terms are representing. 

X cell maturation would be defined as :
The process leading to the attainment of the full functional capacity of 
an X cell. This process is independent of morphogenetic change.

While X cell development would be defined as:
The process aimed at the progression of a y cell over time, from initial 
commitment of the cell to a specific fate, to the fully functional 
differentiated cell.

Can you clarify the distinction...maybe using neural crest cells as an 
example?  (sounds like a thesis defense question!)


David Hill wrote:
> In general derivatives are considered as separate cell types. So, when 
> a neural crest cell migrates to where it is going and it is receiving 
> signals about what it is going to become, it is being committed to 
> become another cell type. This process, as GO defines it, is part of 
> the differentiation of that other cell type, not part of the 
> maturation of the neural crest cell. Although the line between when 
> one cell begins and another ends is fuzzy, if we start to try to 
> represent cell lineages in the process ontology, we run into huge 
> issues. The most obvious ones are things like "Is the differentiation 
> of a pigment cell part of the development of a neural crest cell 
> because it happens to the neural crest cell,  or is the development of 
> a neural crest cell part of the differentiation of a pigment cell 
> because it needs to happen for the pigment cell to differentiate. For 
> this reason, we keep the lineage relationships out of the ontology. 
> The lineage relationships are captured in the cell type ontology. At 
> some point, we can use the two ontologies to derive both the processes 
> and the lineages. So, for example, if a pigement cell develops only 
> from a neural crest cell in the cell ontology, then we can define the 
> process of pigment cell fate commitment as the process by which a 
> neural crest cell becomes committed to form a pigment cell.
> David
> Melissa Haendel wrote:
>> Hi, I wanted to send this set of questions separately than my 
>> previous email as I think they will require discussion.
>> I need a term that represents the final stages of neural crest cell 
>> differentiation into their derivatives.  I could annotate to pigment 
>> cell differentiation, etc, but it would be better to say that all 
>> derivatives don't begin their differentiation.  Once neural crest 
>> cells begin to differentiate into their derivatives, they are no 
>> longer called neural crest cells.  So, would the term "neural crest 
>> cell maturation' with the following definition work?  "The process 
>> leading to the attainment of the full functional capacity of a neural 
>> crest cell derivative. This process is independent of morphogenetic 
>> change."  I have added the word derivative, but I don't know if this 
>> will fly.  Thought I would email the listserve for advice before 
>> making a request.
>> How have any of you dealt with differentiation into derivative cell 
>> types with different names in the past?
>> Any advice is much appreciated.
>> Thanks, Melissa Haendel

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