Control of intercalation is cell-autonomous in the notochord of Ciona intestinalis

David N. Keys, Michael Levine, Richard M. Harland, John B. Wallingford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Dishevelled signaling plays a critical role in the control of cell intercalation during convergent extension in vertebrates. This study presents evidence that Dishevelled serves a similar function in the Ciona notochord. Embryos transgenic for mutant Dishevelled fail to elongate their tails, and notochord cells fail to intercalate, though notochord cell fates are unaffected. Analysis of mosaic transgenics revealed that the effects of mutant Dishevelled on notochord intercalation are cell-autonomous in Ciona, though such defects have nonautonomous effects in Xenopus. Furthermore, our data indicate that notochord cell intercalation in Ciona does not require the progressive signals which coordinate cell intercalation in the Xenopus notochord, highlighting an important difference in how mediolateral cell intercalation is controlled in the two animals. Finally, this study establishes the Ciona embryo as an effective in vivo system for the study of the molecular control of morphogenetic cell movements in chordates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-340
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Cell intercalation
  • Ciona
  • Convergent extension
  • Dishevelled
  • Morphogenesis
  • Planar cell polarity
  • Xenopus


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