Planar induction of convergence and extension of the neural plate by the organizer of Xenopus

Dev Dyn. 1992 Mar;193(3):218-34. doi: 10.1002/aja.1001930303.


This paper demonstrates that convergence and extension within the neural plate of Xenopus laevis are regulated by planar inductive interactions with the adjacent Spemann organizer. The companion article (Keller et al.: Developmental Dynamics 193:199-217, 1992) showed that the prospective hindbrain and spinal cord occupy a very short and very wide area just above the Spemann organizer in the early gastrula and that these regions converge and extend greatly during gastrulation and neurulation, using a sequence of radial and mediolateral cell intercalations. In this article, we show that "planar" contact of these regions with the organizer at their vegetal edge until stage 11 is sufficient to induce convergence and extension, after which their convergence and extension become autonomous. Grafts of the organizer in planar contact with uninduced ectodermal tissues induce these ectodermal tissues to converge and extend by a planar inductive signal from the organizer. Labeling of the inducing or responding tissues confirms that only planar interactions occur. Neural convergence and extension are actually hindered in explants deliberately constructed so that vertical interactions occur. These results show unambiguously that the Spemann organizer induces the extraordinary and precocious convergence and extension movements of the Xenopus neural plate by planar interactions acting over short distances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Movement
  • Culture Techniques
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gastrula / cytology
  • Gastrula / physiology*
  • Microsurgery
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Neural Crest / embryology
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*


  • Fluorescent Dyes