Nodal and Planar Cell Polarity signaling cooperate to regulate zebrafish convergence and extension gastrulation movements

  1. Margot L K Williams  Is a corresponding author
  2. Lilianna Solnica-Krezel
  1. Baylor College of Medicine, United States
  2. Washington University School of Medicine, United States


During vertebrate gastrulation, convergence & extension (C&E) of the primary anteroposterior (AP) embryonic axis is driven by polarized mediolateral (ML) cell intercalations and is influenced by AP axial patterning. Nodal signaling is essential for patterning of the AP axis while Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signaling polarizes cells with respect to this axis, but how these two signaling systems interact during C&E is unclear. We find that the neuroectoderm of Nodal-deficient zebrafish gastrulae exhibits reduced C&E cell behaviors, which require Nodal signaling in both cell- and non-autonomous fashions. PCP signaling is partially active in Nodal-deficient embryos and its inhibition exacerbates their C&E defects. Within otherwise naïve zebrafish blastoderm explants, however, Nodal induces C&E in a largely PCP-dependent manner, arguing that Nodal acts both upstream of and in parallel with PCP during gastrulation to cooperatively regulate embryonic axis extension.

Data availability

Sequencing data have been deposited in GEO under accession code GSE147302. Processed RNA-seq data have been provided in Source Data Files 1 & 2

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Margot L K Williams

    Center for Precision Environmental Health, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9704-6301
  2. Lilianna Solnica-Krezel

    Department of Developmental Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.


National Institutes of Health (K99HD091386)

  • Margot L K Williams

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (R35GM118179)

  • Lilianna Solnica-Krezel

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. Adult zebrafish were raised and maintained according to established methods and in compliance with standards established by the Washington University Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), approval number 20160116; Animal Welfare Assurance number A-3381-01.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Patrick Müller, University of Tuebingen

Version history

  1. Received: December 14, 2019
  2. Accepted: April 21, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: April 22, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: May 26, 2020 (version 2)


© 2020, Williams & Solnica-Krezel

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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  1. Margot L K Williams
  2. Lilianna Solnica-Krezel
Nodal and Planar Cell Polarity signaling cooperate to regulate zebrafish convergence and extension gastrulation movements
eLife 9:e54445.

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