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The prechordal plate is a thickening in the endodermal layer which is formed by mesendodermal cells from the primitive node that migrate rostrally along the midline between the ectoderm and endoderm layers. These same cells also form the notochord.
The prechordal plate gives rise to the endodermal layer of the oropharyngeal membrane, which forms the mouth opening, and participates in the patterning of the cranial neural tube. Evidence from animal models also suggests that some of the prechordal cells undergo epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition to form head mesenchyme cells that are located in the cranial midline.