A requirement for NF-protocadherin and TAF1/Set in cell adhesion and neural tube formation

Dev Biol. 2006 Mar 1;291(1):170-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.12.027. Epub 2006 Jan 19.


Neurulation in vertebrates is an intricate process requiring extensive alterations in cell contacts and cellular morphologies as the cells in the neural ectoderm shape and form the neural folds and neural tube. Despite these complex interactions, little is known concerning the molecules that mediate cell adhesion within the embryonic neural plate and neural folds. Here, we demonstrate the requirement for NF-protocadherin (NFPC) and its cytosolic partner TAF1/Set for proper neurulation in Xenopus. Both NFPC and TAF1 function in cell-cell adhesion in the neural ectoderm, and disruptions in either NFPC or TAF1 result in a failure of the neural tube to close. This neural tube defect can be attributed to a lack of proper organization of the cells in the dorsal neural folds, manifested by a loss in the columnar epithelial morphology and apical localization of F-actin. However, the epidermal ectoderm is still able to migrate and cover the open neural tube, indicating that the fusions of the neural tube and epidermis are separate events. These studies demonstrate that NFPC and TAF1 function to maintain proper cell-cell interactions within the neural folds and suggest that NFPC and TAF1 participate in novel adhesive mechanisms that contribute to the final events of vertebrate neurulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • Ectoderm / cytology
  • Ectoderm / metabolism
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Nervous System / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Xenopus / embryology*
  • Xenopus / metabolism
  • Xenopus Proteins / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Cadherins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • PCDH7 protein, Xenopus
  • Transcription Factors
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • beta Catenin