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Differential cellular stiffness across tissues that contribute to Xenopus neural tube closure

Suzuki M, Yasue N, Ueno N
Dev Growth Differ. 2024 Jun 26. doi: 10.1111/dgd.12936. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38925637
During the formation of the neural tube, the primordium of the vertebrate central nervous system, the actomyosin activity of cells in different regions drives neural plate bending. However, how the stiffness of the neural plate and surrounding tissues is regulated and mechanically influences neural plate bending has not been elucidated. Here, we used atomic force microscopy to reveal the relationship between the stiffness of the neural plate and the mesoderm during Xenopus neural tube formation. Measurements with intact embryos revealed that the stiffness of the neural plate was consistently higher compared with the non-neural ectoderm and that it increased in an actomyosin activity-dependent manner during neural plate bending. Interestingly, measurements of isolated tissue explants also revealed that the relationship between the stiffness of the apical and basal sides of the neural plate was reversed during bending and that the stiffness of the mesoderm was lower than that of the basal side of the neural plate. The experimental elevation of mesoderm stiffness delayed neural plate bending, suggesting that low mesoderm stiffness mechanically supports neural tube closure. This study provides an example of mechanical interactions between tissues during large-scale morphogenetic movements.
Not Epub
Organism or Cell Type: 
Xenopus laevis
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