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Development 2001 Jul 01;12813:2581-92. doi: 10.1242/dev.128.13.2581.
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Xenopus Dishevelled signaling regulates both neural and mesodermal convergent extension: parallel forces elongating the body axis.

Wallingford JB , Harland RM .

During amphibian development, non-canonical Wnt signals regulate the polarity of intercalating dorsal mesoderm cells during convergent extension. Cells of the overlying posterior neural ectoderm engage in similar morphogenetic cell movements. Important differences have been discerned in the cell behaviors associated with neural and mesodermal cell intercalation, raising the possibility that different mechanisms may control intercalations in these two tissues. In this report, targeted expression of mutants of Xenopus Dishevelled (Xdsh) to neural or mesodermal tissues elicited different defects that were consistent with inhibition of either neural or mesodermal convergent extension. Expression of mutant Xdsh also inhibited elongation of neural tissues in vitro in Keller sandwich explants and in vivo in neural plate grafts. Targeted expression of other Wnt signaling antagonists also inhibited neural convergent extension in whole embryos. In situ hybridization indicated that these defects were not due to changes in cell fate. Examination of embryonic phenotypes after inhibition of convergent extension in different tissues reveals a primary role for mesodermal convergent extension in axial elongation, and a role for neural convergent extension as an equalizing force to produce a straight axis. This study demonstrates that non-canonical Wnt signaling is a common mechanism controlling convergent extension in two very different tissues in the Xenopus embryo and may reflect a general conservation of control mechanisms in vertebrate convergent extension.

PubMed ID: 11493574
Article link: Development

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: dvl1 dvl2 egr2 hoxb9

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