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Development. 2008 Jan;135(1):33-41. Epub 2007 Nov 21.

Chongmague reveals an essential role for laminin-mediated boundary formation in chordate convergence and extension movements.

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  • 1Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara CA, 93106, USA.


Although cell intercalation driven by non-canonical Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway-dependent mediolateral cell polarity is important for notochord morphogenesis, it is likely that multiple mechanisms shape the notochord as it converges and extends. Here we show that the recessive short-tailed Ciona savignyi mutation chongmague (chm) has a novel defect in the formation of a morphological boundary around the developing notochord. chm notochord cells initiate intercalation normally, but then fail to maintain their polarized cell morphology and migrate inappropriately to become dispersed in the larval tail. This is unlike aimless (aim), a mutation in the PCP pathway component Prickle, which has a severe defect in early mediolateral intercalation but forms a robust notochord boundary. Positional cloning identifies chm as a mutation in the C. savignyi ortholog of the vertebrate alpha 3/4/5 family of laminins. Cs-lamalpha3/4/5 is highly expressed in the developing notochord, and Cs-lamalpha3/4/5 protein is specifically localized to the outer border of the notochord. Notochord convergence and extension, reduced but not absent in both chm and aim, are essentially abolished in the aim/aim; chm/chm double mutant, indicating that laminin-mediated boundary formation and PCP-dependent mediolateral intercalation are each able to drive a remarkable degree of tail morphogenesis in the absence of the other. These mechanisms therefore initially act in parallel, but we also find that PCP signaling has an important later role in maintaining the perinotochordal/intranotochordal polarity of Cs-lamalpha3/4/5 localization.

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