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Dev Dyn. 1995 Nov;204(3):323-37.

Cooperative model of epithelial shaping and bending during avian neurulation: autonomous movements of the neural plate, autonomous movements of the epidermis, and interactions in the neural plate/epidermis transition zone.

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Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City 84132, USA.


Morphogenetic movements during neurulation cause a tissue to change shape within the plane of the epithelium (e.g., conversion of the oval neural plate into the narrow spinal plate and the wide brain plate), cause bending out of the plane of the epithelium (e.g., raise the neural folds and curl the neural plate into a tube), or contribute to both phenomena. In this study, pieces that contain neural plate alone, epidermis alone, or both tissues (with or without underlying tissues) are cut from chick embryos and allowed to develop for up to 24 hr. Examination of histological sections through such isolates allows analysis of the formation of neural folds. When the neural plate/epidermis transition zone is disrupted, neural folds do not form. Conversely, when the transition zone remains intact, neural folds form. Neural folds form even when most of the medial neural plate and lateral epidermis has been removed, leaving only the isolated transition zone. These data indicate that the transition zone is both necessary and sufficient for the formation of neural folds. The transition zone may play a number of roles in epithelial bending including organizing, focussing, and redirecting movements that are autonomous to the neural plate or epidermis. Time-lapse video recording, and sequential photographs allowed the documentation of such movements. Neural plate isolates exhibit autonomous rostrocaudal lengthening and mediolateral narrowing. Isolated strips of epidermis exhibit autonomous movements which, unlike wound-healing movements, are unidirectional (medial), and region-specific (beginning and reaching their greatest extent in the cranial region). Isolated pieces of neural plate or epidermis remain flat instead of bending, providing further evidence that the transition zone is necessary for the formation of neural folds.

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