We compared the type and patterning of morphogenic cell behaviors driving convergent extension of the Xenopus neural plate in the presence and absence of persistent vertical signals from the mesoderm by videorecording explants of deep neural tissue with involuted mesoderm attached and of deep neural tissue alone. In deep neural-over-mesoderm explants, neural plate cells express monopolar medially directed motility and notoplate cells express randomly oriented motility, two new morphogenic cell behaviors. In contrast, in deep neural explants (without notoplate), all cells express bipolar mediolateral cell motility. Deep neural-over-mesoderm and deep neural explants also differ in degree of neighbor exchange during mediolateral cell intercalation. In deep neural-over-mesoderm explants, cells intercalate conservatively, whereas in deep neural explants cells intercalate more promiscuously. Last, in both deep neural-over-mesoderm and deep neural explants, morphogenic cell behaviors differentiate in an anterior-to-posterior and lateral-to-medial progression. However, in deep neural-over-mesoderm explants, morphogenic behaviors first differentiate in intervals along the anteroposterior axis, whereas in deep neural explants, morphogenic behaviors differentiate continuously from the anterior end of the tissue posteriorly. These results describe new morphogenic cell behaviors driving neural convergent extension and also define roles for signals from the mesoderm, up to and beyond late gastrulation, in patterning these cell behaviors.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.