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Cell. 2012 May 25;149(5):1084-97. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.04.021.

Planar cell polarity links axes of spatial dynamics in neural-tube closure.

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RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, 2-2-3 Minatojima-Minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0047, Japan.


Neural-tube closure is a critical step of embryogenesis, and its failure causes serious birth defects. Coordination of two morphogenetic processes--convergent extension and neural-plate apical constriction--ensures the complete closure of the neural tube. We now provide evidence that planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling directly links these two processes. In the bending neural plates, we find that a PCP-regulating cadherin, Celsr1, is concentrated in adherens junctions (AJs) oriented toward the mediolateral axes of the plates. At these AJs, Celsr1 cooperates with Dishevelled, DAAM1, and the PDZ-RhoGEF to upregulate Rho kinase, causing their actomyosin-dependent contraction in a planar-polarized manner. This planar-polarized contraction promotes simultaneous apical constriction and midline convergence of neuroepithelial cells. Together our findings demonstrate that PCP signals confer anisotropic contractility on the AJs, producing cellular forces that promote the polarized bending of the neural plate.

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