Neuro-mesodermal patterns in artificially deformed embryonic explants: A role for mechano-geometry in tissue differentiation



The mutual arrangement of neural and mesodermal rudiments in artificially bent double explants of Xenopus laevis suprablastoporal areas was compared with that of intact explants. While some of the bent explants straightened or became spherical, most retained and actively reinforced the imposed curvature, creating folds on their concave sides and expanding convex surfaces. In the intact explants, the arrangement of neural and mesodermal rudiments exhibited a distinct antero-posterior polarity, with some variability. In the bent explants, this polarity was lost: the neural rudiments were shifted towards concave while the mesodermal tissues moved towards the convex side, embracing the neural rudiments in a horseshoe-shaped manner. We associate these drastic changes in neuro-mesodermal patterning with the active extension and contraction of the convex and concave sides, respectively, triggered by the imposed deformations. We speculate that similar events are responsible for the establishment of neuro-mesodermal patterns during normal development. Developmental Dynamics 239:885–896, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.