Prof Roberto Mayor


Personal Profile

Name: Roberto Mayor Email:
Title: Prof Tel: 020 7679 3323
Department: Cell & Developmental Biology Fax: 020 7679 7349
Position: Professor of Developmental and Cellular Neurobiology Address: Gower street, , London, WC1E 6BT
Research Domain: Basic Life Sciences, Biomedical Imaging (Frontier Disciplines), Cancer, Genetics (Frontier Disciplines), Infection, Immunology & Inflammation, Neuroscience, Personalised Medicine, Reproduction & Development, Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine (Frontier Disciplines) Web Page: Personal Web Page


Research Description

The primary aim of our research group is to elucidate the mechanism that underlies the development of the Neural Crest. We would like to know how Neural Crest cells acquire their identity within the ectoderm and how their migration and differentiation is controlled.

Research Activities

Molecular genetics of vertebrate development; cell signalling and induction of neural crest cells

Patterning the early embryo

Education Description

UCL Collaborators

Prof Claudio Stern; Prof Lewis Wolpert

External Collaborators



    • Barriga EH, Trainor PA, Bronner M, Mayor R (2015). Animal models for studying neural crest development: is the mouse different?. Development (Cambridge, England), 142(9), 1555 - 1560. doi:10.1242/dev.121590
    • Kotini M, Mayor R (2015). Connexins in migration during development and cancer.. Dev Biol, 401(1), 143 - 151. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.12.023
    • Barriga EH, Mayor R (2015). Embryonic cell-cell adhesion: a key player in collective neural crest migration.. Current topics in developmental biology, 112, 301 - 323. doi:10.1016/bs.ctdb.2014.11.023


    • Woods ML, Carmona-Fontaine C, Barnes CP, Couzin ID, Mayor R, Page KM (2014). Directional collective cell migration emerges as a property of cell interactions.. PLoS One, 9(9), e104969 - . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104969
    • Mayor R, Theveneau E (2014). The role of the non-canonical Wnt-planar cell polarity pathway in neural crest migration.. Biochem J, 457(1), 19 - 26. doi:10.1042/BJ20131182
    • Steventon B, Mayor R, Streit A (2014). Neural crest and placode interaction during the development of the cranial sensory system.. Dev Biol, 389(1), 28 - 38. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.01.021
    • Kuriyama S, Theveneau E, Benedetto A, Parsons M, Tanaka M, Charras G, Kabla A, Mayor R (2014). In vivo collective cell migration requires an LPAR2-dependent increase in tissue fluidity.. J Cell Biol, 206(1), 113 - 127. doi:10.1083/jcb.201402093


    • Scarpa E, Parsons M, Mayor R (2013). Spatiotemporal dynamics of junctional complex and actomyosin assembly during Contact Inhibition of Locomotion. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL, 24, - .
    • Stramer BM, Dunn GA, Davis JR, Mayor R (2013). Rediscovering contact inhibition in the embryo. JOURNAL OF MICROSCOPY, 251(3), 206 - 211. doi:10.1111/jmi.12045
    • Becker SF, Mayor R, Kashef J (2013). Cadherin-11 mediates contact inhibition of locomotion during Xenopus neural crest cell migration.. PLoS One, 8(12), e85717 - . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085717
    • Law A-L, Vehlow A, Kotini M, Dodgson L, Soong D, Theveneau E, Bodo C, Taylor E, Navarro C, Perera U, Michael M, Dunn GA, Bennett D, Mayor R, Krause M (2013). Lamellipodin and the Scar/WAVE complex cooperate to promote cell migration in vivo. JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY, 203(4), 673 - 689. doi:10.1083/jcb.201304051
    • Moore R, Theveneau E, Pozzi S, Alexandre P, Richardson J, Merks A, Parsons M, Kashef J, Linker C, Mayor R (2013). Par3 controls neural crest migration by promoting microtubule catastrophe during contact inhibition of locomotion.. Development, 140(23), 4763 - 4775. doi:10.1242/dev.098509
    • Theveneau E, Mayor R (2013). Collective cell migration of epithelial and mesenchymal cells.. Cell Mol Life Sci, 70(19), 3481 - 3492. doi:10.1007/s00018-012-1251-7
    • Theveneau E, Steventon B, Scarpa E, Garcia S, Trepat X, Streit A, Mayor R (2013). Chase-and-run between adjacent cell populations promotes directional collective migration.. Nat Cell Biol, 15(7), 763 - 772. doi:10.1038/ncb2772
    • Barriga EH, Maxwell PH, Reyes AE, Mayor R (2013). The hypoxia factor Hif-1α controls neural crest chemotaxis and epithelial to mesenchymal transition.. J Cell Biol, 201(5), 759 - 776. doi:10.1083/jcb.201212100
    • Mayor R, Theveneau E (2013). The neural crest.. Development, 140(11), 2247 - 2251. doi:10.1242/dev.091751
    • Leslie JD, Mayor R (2013). Complement in animal development: unexpected roles of a highly conserved pathway.. Semin Immunol, 25(1), 39 - 46. doi:10.1016/j.smim.2013.04.005
    • Fuentealba J, Toro-Tapia G, Arriagada C, Riquelme L, Beyer A, Henriquez JP, Caprile T, Mayor R, Marcellini S, Hinrichs MV, Olate J, Torrejón M (2013). Ric-8A, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for heterotrimeric G proteins, is critical for cranial neural crest cell migration.. Dev Biol, 378(2), 74 - 82. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.04.005
    • Scarpa E, Roycroft A, Theveneau E, Terriac E, Piel M, Mayor R (2013). A novel method to study contact inhibition of locomotion using micropatterned substrates.. Biol Open, 2(9), 901 - 906. doi:10.1242/bio.20135504


    • Theveneau E, Mayor R (2012). Neural crest migration: interplay between chemorepellents, chemoattractants, contact inhibition, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and collective cell migration.. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol, 1(3), 435 - 445. doi:10.1002/wdev.28
    • Theveneau E, Mayor R (2012). Cadherins in collective cell migration of mesenchymal cells.. Curr Opin Cell Biol, 24(5), 677 - 684. doi:10.1016/
    • Steventon B, Mayor R, Streit A (2012). Mutual repression between Gbx2 and Otx2 in sensory placodes reveals a general mechanism for ectodermal patterning.. Dev Biol, 367(1), 55 - 65. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.04.025
    • Steventon B, Mayor R (2012). Early neural crest induction requires an initial inhibition of Wnt signals.. Dev Biol, 365(1), 196 - 207. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.02.029
    • Theveneau E, Mayor R (2012). Neural crest delamination and migration: from epithelium-to-mesenchyme transition to collective cell migration.. Dev Biol, 366(1), 34 - 54. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.12.041


    • Theveneau E, Mayor R (2011). Can mesenchymal cells undergo collective cell migration? The case of the neural crest.. Cell Adh Migr, 5(6), 490 - 498. doi:10.4161/cam.5.6.18623
    • Carmona-Fontaine C, Theveneau E, Tzekou A, Tada M, Woods M, Page KM, Parsons M, Lambris JD, Mayor R (2011). Complement fragment C3a controls mutual cell attraction during collective cell migration.. Dev Cell, 21(6), 1026 - 1037. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2011.10.012
    • Theveneau E, Mayor R (2011). Collective cell migration of the cephalic neural crest: the art of integrating information.. Genesis, 49(4), 164 - 176. doi:10.1002/dvg.20700
    • Theveneau E, Mayor R (2011). Beads on the run: beads as alternative tools for chemotaxis assays.. Methods Mol Biol, 769, 449 - 460. doi:10.1007/978-1-61779-207-6_30
    • Barriga EH, Mayor R, Reyes AE (2011). In vivo regulation of Sna1b by Hif-1alpha during zebrafish neural crest cells migration. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.05.287
    • Mayor R (2011). Collective migration of neural crest cells: a balance between repulsion and attraction.


    • Theveneau E, Mayor R (2010). Integrating chemotaxis and contact-inhibition during collective cell migration: small GTPases at work. Small GTPases, 1(2), 113 - 117. doi:10.4161/sgtp.1.2.13673
    • Mayor R, Carmona-Fontaine C (2010). Keeping in touch with contact inhibition of locomotion.. Trends Cell Biol, 20(6), 319 - 328. doi:10.1016/j.tcb.2010.03.005
    • Theveneau E, Marchant L, Kuriyama S, Gull M, Moepps B, Parsons M, Mayor R (2010). Collective chemotaxis requires contact-dependent cell polarity.. Dev Cell, 19(1), 39 - 53. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2010.06.012


    • Steventon B, Mayor R (2009). A temporal modulation of FGF, Wnt, BMP and Retinoic Acid signalling is required for neural crest induction. doi:10.1016/j.mod.2009.06.198
    • Kashef J, Kohler A, Kuriyama S, Alfandari D, Mayor R, Wedlich D (2009). Cadherin-11 regulates protrusive activity in Xenopus cranial neural crest cells upstream of Trio and the small GTPases.
    • Mayor R, Carmona-Fontaine C, Matthews HK (2009). Contact inhibition of locomotion controls neural crest directional migration. NEUROGASTROENT MOTIL, 21(2), XVIII - XVIII.
    • Linker C, De Almeida I, Papanayotou C, Stower M, Sabado V, Ghorani E, Streit A, Mayor R, Stern CD (2009). Cell communication with the neural plate is required for induction of neural markers by BMP inhibition: evidence for homeogenetic induction and implications for Xenopus animal cap and chick explant assays.. Developmental Biology, 327, 478 - 486. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.12.034
    • Steventon B, Araya C, Linker C, Kuriyama S, Mayor R (2009). Differential requirements of BMP and Wnt signalling during gastrulation and neurulation define two steps in neural crest induction.. Development, 136, 771 - 779. doi:10.1242/dev.029017
    • Kuriyama S, Mayor R (2009). A role for Syndecan-4 in neural induction involving ERK- and PKC-dependent pathways.. Development, 136, 575 - 584. doi:10.1242/dev.027334
    • Kashef J, Köhler A, Kuriyama S, Alfandari D, Mayor R, Wedlich D (2009). Cadherin-11 regulates protrusive activity in Xenopus cranial neural crest cells upstream of Trio and the small GTPases.. Genes Dev, 23, 1393 - 1398. doi:10.1101/gad.519409
    • Li B, Kuriyama S, Moreno M, Mayor R (2009). The posteriorizing gene Gbx2 is a direct target of Wnt signalling and the earliest factor in neural crest induction.. Development, 136(19), 3267 - 3278. doi:10.1242/10.1242/dev.036954
    • Li B, Kuriyama S, Moreno M, Mayor R (2009). The posteriorizing gene Gbx2 is a direct target of Wnt signalling and the earliest factor in neural crest induction.. Development, 136(19), 3267 - 3278. doi:10.1242/dev.036954


    • Carmona-Fontaine C, Theveneau E, Tzekou A, Lambris J, Mayor R (2008). A novel role of C3 as a regulator of neural crest migration during embryo development. doi:10.1016/j.molimm.2008.08.109
    • Tobin JL, Di Franco M, Eichers E, May-Simera H, Garcia M, Yan J, Quinlan R, Justice MJ, Hennekam RC, Briscoe J, Tada M, Mayor R, Burns AJ, Lupski JR, Hammond P, Beales PL (2008). Inhibition of neural crest migration underlies craniofacial dysmorphology and Hirschsprung's disease in Bardet-Biedl syndrome.. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 105(18), 6714 - 6719. doi:10.1073/pnas.0707057105
    • Matthews HK, Marchant L, Carmona-Fontaine C, Kuriyama S, Larraín J, Holt MR, Parsons M, Mayor R (2008). Directional migration of neural crest cells in vivo is regulated by Syndecan-4/Rac1 and non-canonical Wnt signaling/RhoA. Development, 135(10), 1771 - 1780. doi:10.1242/dev.017350
    • Soto X, Mayor R, Torrejón M, Montecino M, Hinrichs MV, Olate J (2008). Galphaq negatively regulates the Wnt-beta-catenin pathway and dorsal embryonic Xenopus laevis development. Journal of Cellular Physiology, 214(2), 483 - 490. doi:10.1002/jcp.21228
    • Tobin JL, Di Franco M, Eichers E, May-Simera H, Garcia M, Yan J, Quinlan R, Justice MJ, Hennekam RC, Briscoe J, Tada M, Mayor R, Burns AJ, Lupski JR, Hammond P, Beales PL (2008). Inhibition of neural crest migration underlies craniofacial dysmorphology and Hirschsprung's disease in Bardet-Biedl syndrome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(18), 6714 - 6719. doi:10.1073/pnas.0707057105
    • Bonano M, Tríbulo C, De Calisto J, Marchant L, Sánchez SS, Mayor R, Aybar MJ (2008). A new role for the Endothelin-1/Endothelin-A receptor signaling during early neural crest specification. Developmental Biology, 1(323), 114 - 129. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.08.007
    • Kuriyama S, Mayor R (2008). Molecular analysis of neural crest migration. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363(1495), 1349 - 1362. doi:10.1098/rstb.2007.2252
    • Carmona-Fontaine C, Matthews HK, Kuriyama S, Moreno M, Dunn GA, Parsons M, Stern CD, Mayor R (2008). Contact inhibition of locomotion in vivo controls neural crest directional migration.. Nature, 456(18/25), 957 - 961. doi:10.1038/nature07441
    • Matthews HK, Broders-Bondon F, Thiery JP, Mayor R (2008). Wnt11r is required for cranial neural crest migration.. Developmental Dynamics, 237, 3404 - 3409. doi:10.1002/dvdy.21758
    • Carmona-Fontaine C, Matthews H, Mayor R (2008). Directional cell migration in vivo: Wnt at the crest.. Cell Adhesion and Migration, 2, 240 - 242.


    • Bonano M, Tribulo C, Sanchez SS, Mayor R, Aybar MJ (2007). The role of Endothelin-1/Endothelin Receptor A signaling in neural crest specification and cell survival. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2007.03.172
    • Mayor R, Matthews H, Marchant L, Carmona-Fontaine C, Kuriyama S (2007). Role of Wnt signaling in neural crest development: from induction to migration. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2007.03.128
    • Mayor R (2007). Neural Crest Determination. In Moody SA (Ed.), Principles of Developmental Genetics (pp. - ). : Academic Press.
    • Blanco MJ, Barrallo-Gimeno A, Acloque H, Reyes AE, Tada M, Allende ML, Mayor R, Nieto MA (2007). Snail1a and Snail1b cooperate in the anterior migration of the axial mesendoderm in the zebrafish embryo. Development, 134(22), 4073 - 4081. doi:10.1242/10.1242/dev.006858
    • Carmona-Fontaine C, Acuña G, Ellwanger K, Niehrs C, Mayor R (2007). Neural crests are actively precluded from the anterior neural fold by a novel inhibitory mechanism dependent on Dickkopf1 secreted by the prechordal mesoderm. Developmental Biology, 309(2), 208 - 221. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2007.07.006
    • Broders-Bondon F, Chesneau A, Romero-Oliva F, Mazabraud A, Mayor R, Thiery JP (2007). Regulation of XSnail2 expression by Rho GTPases. Developmental Dynamics, 236(9), 2555 - 2566. doi:10.1002/dvdy.21273
    • Hassler C, Cruciat CM, Huang YL, Kuriyama S, Mayor R, Niehrs C (2007). Kremen is required for neural crest induction in Xenopus and promotes LRP6-mediated Wnt signaling. Development, 134(23), 4255 - 4263. doi:10.1242/dev.005942


    • Bonano M, Tribulo C, Aguero T, DeCalisto J, Mayor R, Sanchez S, Aybar (2006). Edn1/Ednra pathway in Xenopus neural crest development. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.04.323


    • Steventon B, Carmona-Fontaine C, Mayor R (2005). Genetic network during neural crest induction: from cell specification to cell survival. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 16, 647 - 654.
    • De Calisto J, Araya C, Marchant L, Riaz CF, Mayor R (2005). Essential role of non-canonical Wnt signalling in neural crest migration. Development, 132, 2587 - 2597. doi:10.1242/dev.01857
    • Mayor R (2005). Molecular specification of the neural crest. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 16(6), 641 - . doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2005.06.002


    • Tribulo C, Aybar MJ, Sanchez SS, Mayor R (2004). A balance between the anti-apoptotic activity of Slug and the apoptotic activity of msx1 is required for the proper development of Xenopus neural crest..
    • Tríbulo C, Aybar MJ, Sánchez SS, Mayor R (2004). A balance between the anti-apoptotic activity of Slug and the apoptotic activity of msx1 is required for the proper development of the neural crest. Developmental Biology, 275, 325 - 342. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2004.07.041
    • Glavic A, Silva F, Aybar MA, Bastidas F, Mayor R (2004). Interplay between Notch signaling and the homeoprotein Xiro1 is required for neural crest induction in Xenopus embryos. Development, 131, 347 - 359. doi:10.1242/dev.00945
    • Glavic A, Honoré SM, Feijóo CG, Bastidas F, Allende ML, Mayor R (2004). Role of BMP signaling and the homeoprotein iroquois in the specification of the cranial placodal field. Developmental Biology, 272(1), 89 - 103. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2004.04.020
    • Bastidas F, De Calisto J, Mayor R (2004). Identification of neural crest competence territory: Role of Wnt signaling. Developmental Dynamics, 229, 109 - 117. doi:10.1002/dvdy.10486
    • Carpio R, Honore SM, Araya C, Mayor R (2004). Xenopus paraxis homologue shows novel domains of expression. Developmental Dynamics, 231, 609 - 613. doi:10.1002/dvdy.20147


    • Aybar MJ, Nieto A, Mayor R (2003). Snail precedes Slug in the genetic cascade required for the specification and migration of the Xenopus neural crest.. Development, 130, 483 - 494. doi:10.1242/10.1242/dev.00238
    • Honoré SM, Aybar JM, Mayor R (2003). Sox10 is required for the early development of the prospective neural crest in Xenopus embryos.. Developmental Biology, 260, 79 - 96. doi:10.1016/S0012-1606(03)00247-1
    • Tríbulo C, Aybar JM, Nguyen VH, Mullins MC, Mayor R (2003). Regulation of msx genes by a BMP gradient is essential for neural crest specification. Development, 130(26), 6441 - 6452. doi:10.1242/dev.00878


    • Aybar M, Glavic A, Mayor R (2002). Extracellular signals, cell interactions and transcription factors involved in the induction of the neural crest cells.. Biological Research, 35, 267 - 275. doi:10.4067/S0716-97602002000200018
    • Villanueva S, Glavic A, Ruiz P, Mayor R (2002). Posteriorization by FGF, Wnt, and Retinoic Acid is required for neural crest induction.. Developmental Biology, 241, 289 - 301. doi:10.1006/dbio.2001.0485
    • Glavic A, Gómez-Skarmeta JL, Mayor R (2002). The homeoprotein Xiro1 is required for midbrain-hindbrain boundary formation.. Development, 129, 1609 - 1621.
    • Aybar M, Mayor R (2002). Early induction of neural crest cells: lessons learned from Xenopus, zebrafish and chick.. Current Opinion in Genetic and Development, 12, 452 - 458. doi:10.1016/S0959-437X(02)00325-8


    • Palma V, Kukuljan M, Mayor R (2001). Calcium mediates dorsoventral patterning of mesoderm in Xenopus.. Current Biology, 11, 1606 - 1610. doi:10.1016/S0960-9822(01)00479-1
    • Mayor R, Aybar M (2001). Induction and development of neural crest in Xenopus laevis.. Cell Tissue Research, 305, 203 - 209. doi:10.1007/s004410100369
    • Glavic A, Gómez-Skarmeta JL, Mayor R (2001). Xiro-1 controls mesoderm patterning by repressing bmp-4 expression in the Spemann organizer.. Developmental Dynamics, 222, 368 - 376. doi:10.1002/dvdy.1189


    • Linker C, Bronner-Fraser M, Mayor R (2000). Relationship between gene expression domains of Xsnail, Xslug and Xtwist and cell movement in the prospective neural crest of Xenopus.. Developmental Biology, 224, 215 - 225. doi:10.1006/dbio.2000.9723
    • Mayor R, Guerrero N, Young JL, Gomez JL, Cuellar C (2000). A novel function for the Xslug gene: control of dorsal mesendoderm development by repressing BMP-4.. Mechanism of Development, 97, 45 - 54. doi:10.1016/S0925-4773(00)00412-3


    • Mayor R, Young R, Vargas A (1999). Development of neural crest in Xenopus.. Current topics in Developmental Biology, 43, 85 - 113.
    • Gómez-Skarmeta JL, Delacalle E, Modolell JAM, R (1999). Xenopus brain factor-2 controls mesoderm, forebrain and neural crest development.. Mechanisms of Development, 80, 15 - 27. doi:10.1016/S0925-4773(98)00190-7


    • Marchant L, Linker C, Mayor R (1998). Inhibition of mesoderm formation by follistatin.. Development, Genes and Evolution, 208, 157 - 160. doi:10.1007/s004270050167
    • Marchant L, Linker C, Ruiz P, Mayor R (1998). The inductive properties of mesoderm suggest that the neural crest cells are specified by a gradient of BMP.. Developmental Biology, 198(2), 319 - 329. doi:10.1016/S0012-1606(98)80008-0
    • Gomez-Skarmeta J, Glavic A, Delacalle E, Modollel J, Mayor R (1998). Xiro a Xenopus homologue of the Drosophila Iroquois complex-gene controls the development of the neural plate.. The EMBO Journal, 17, 181 - 190. doi:10.1093/emboj/17.1.181


    • Mayor RM, C G, N (1997). Role of FGF and noggin in neural crest induction.. Developmental Biology, 189(1), 1 - 12. doi:10.1006/dbio.1997.8634


    • Mancilla A, Mayor R (1996). Neural crest formation in Xenopus laevis: mechanisms of Xslug induction.. Developmental Biology, 177, 580 - 588. doi:10.1006/dbio.1996.0187


    • Mayor R, Morgan R, Sargent M (1995). Induction of the prospective neural crest of Xenopus.. Development, 121(767), 777 - .



    • Mayor R, Essex L, Bennett M, Sargent M (1993). Distinct elements of the Xsna promoter are required for mesodermal and ectodermal expression.. Development, 119, 661 - 671.
    • Essex L, Mayor R, Sargent M (1993). Expression of Xenopus Xsnail in mesoderm and neural fold ectoderm.. Developmental Dynamics, 198, 108 - 122. doi:10.1002/aja.1001980205


    • Mayor R, Pey R, Izquierdo L (1989). Development of Cytoskeletal connections between cells of preimplantation embryos.. Roux's Archives of Developmental Biology, 198, 233 - 241.