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Dev Biol. 1995 Sep;171(1):98-110.

Tissue boundaries and cell behavior during neurulation.

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Department of Zoology, University of Texas, Austin 78712-1064, USA.


We have analyzed the dynamics of the boundaries between the neural plate and the epidermis and between the neural plate and the notoplate. Our experiments confirm that these two boundaries have important roles in neurulation. Measurements of the lengths of neural fold (the boundary between epidermis and neural plate) in embryos of axolotls and newts reveal that neural folds abutting the prospective brain decrease in length while neural folds abutting the prospective spinal cord increase in length during neurulation. We tested the proposition that boundaries of the neural plate with epidermis and with notoplate are essential for proper neurulation. Cuts made along the boundaries with epidermis or with notoplate stop, or greatly diminish, neural plate elongation and tube formation. Explanting the axolotl neural plate without any bordering epidermis stops plate elongation and prevents neural tube closure, but neural plates explanted with a rim of epidermis elongate and close into tubes. Cutting the notoplate boundary stops midline elongation in the newt embryo or diminishes it in the axolotl embryo. We conclude that the notoplate boundary and part of the boundary of the epidermis that abuts the prospective spinal cord organize cell behavior to elongate the neural plate and help close the neural tube. The boundary of the neural plate with the epidermis is essential for tube closure both because it organizes plate elongation in the spinal cord region and because cell behavior becomes organized at the boundary such that neural folds are raised and a rolling moment is produced that helps form the neural tube.

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