Spatial and temporal analysis of PCP protein dynamics during neural tube closure

Elife. 2018 Aug 6:7:e36456. doi: 10.7554/eLife.36456.


Planar cell polarity (PCP) controls convergent extension and axis elongation in all vertebrates. Although asymmetric localization of PCP proteins is central to their function, we understand little about PCP protein localization during convergent extension. Here, we use quantitative live imaging to simultaneously monitor cell intercalation behaviors and PCP protein dynamics in the Xenopus laevis neural plate epithelium. We observed asymmetric enrichment of PCP proteins, but more interestingly, we observed tight correlation of PCP protein enrichment with actomyosin-driven contractile behavior of cell-cell junctions. Moreover, we found that the turnover rates of junctional PCP proteins also correlated with the contractile behavior of individual junctions. All these dynamic relationships were disrupted when PCP signaling was manipulated. Together, these results provide a dynamic and quantitative view of PCP protein localization during convergent extension and suggest a complex and intimate link between the dynamic localization of core PCP proteins, actomyosin assembly, and polarized junction shrinking during cell intercalation in the closing vertebrate neural tube.

Keywords: cell biology; cell intercalation; convergent extension; developmental biology; neural tube closure; planar cell polarity; prickle2; vangl2; xenopus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity / genetics*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Intercellular Junctions / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Morphogenesis / genetics*
  • Neural Plate / growth & development*
  • Neural Plate / metabolism
  • Neural Tube / growth & development*
  • Neural Tube / metabolism
  • Xenopus laevis / genetics
  • Xenopus laevis / growth & development


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Membrane Proteins