Methionine and neural tube closure in cultured rat embryos: morphological and biochemical analyses

Teratology. 1990 Oct;42(4):437-51. doi: 10.1002/tera.1420420412.


When headfold-stage rat embryos were cultured on cow serum, their neural tubes failed to close unless the serum was supplemented with methionine. Methionine deficiency did not appear to affect the ability of the neural epithelium to fuse as a type of fusion was observed between anterior and posterior regions of the open neural tube in methionine-deficient embryos. Although methionine deficiency reduced the cell density and mitotic indices of cranial mesenchyme and neural epithelial cells, this did not appear to be a factor in failure of the neural tube to close. For example, embryos cultured on diluted cow serum also had fewer mesenchymal cells yet could complete neural tube closure if provided with methionine. Examination of the tips of the neural folds suggested that microfilament contraction could be involved; in the absence of methionine the neural folds failed to turn in. This possibility was supported by the reductions in neurite extension of isolated neural tubes cultured without methionine and by the reductions in microfilament associated methylated amino acids contained in embryo neural tube proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Culture Media
  • Culture Techniques
  • Methionine / deficiency*
  • Methionine / pharmacology
  • Methylation
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neural Tube Defects / etiology*
  • Neural Tube Defects / metabolism
  • Neural Tube Defects / pathology
  • Rats


  • Culture Media
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Methionine