Caspases and matrix metalloproteases facilitate collective behavior of non-neural ectoderm after hindbrain neuropore closure

BMC Dev Biol. 2018 Jul 31;18(1):17. doi: 10.1186/s12861-018-0175-3.


Background: Mammalian brain is formed through neural tube closure (NTC), wherein both ridges of opposing neural folds are fused in the midline and remodeled in the roof plate of the neural tube and overlying non-neural ectodermal layer. Apoptosis is widely observed from the beginning of NTC at the neural ridges and is crucial for the proper progression of NTC, but its role after the closure remains less clear.

Results: Here, we conducted live-imaging analysis of the mid-hindbrain neuropore (MHNP) closure and revealed unexpected collective behavior of cells surrounding the MHNP. The cells first gathered to the closing point and subsequently relocated as if they were released from the point. Inhibition of caspases or matrix metalloproteases with chemical inhibitors impaired the cell relocation.

Conclusions: These lines of evidence suggest that apoptosis-mediated degradation of extracellular matrix might facilitate the final process of neuropore closure.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Caspases; Live-imaging; Matrix metalloproteases; Neural tube closure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Caspases / metabolism*
  • Cell Shape / drug effects
  • Ectoderm / cytology
  • Ectoderm / embryology*
  • Ectoderm / enzymology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism*
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Movement
  • Neural Crest / embryology*
  • Neural Tube / cytology
  • Neural Tube / embryology
  • Rhombencephalon / embryology*


  • Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones
  • benzyloxycarbonylvalyl-alanyl-aspartyl fluoromethyl ketone
  • Caspases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases