Data from: Regulation of cell protrusions by small GTPases during fusion of the neural folds
Rolo, Ana et al. (2017), Data from: Regulation of cell protrusions by small GTPases during fusion of the neural folds, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rm660
Epithelial fusion is a crucial process in embryonic development, and its failure underlies several clinically important birth defects. For example, failure of neural fold fusion during neurulation leads to open neural tube defects including spina bifida. Using mouse embryos, we show that cell protrusions emanating from the apposed neural fold tips, at the interface between the neuroepithelium and the surface ectoderm, are required for completion of neural tube closure. By genetically ablating the cytoskeletal regulators Rac1 or Cdc42 in the dorsal neuroepithelium, or in the surface ectoderm, we show that these protrusions originate from surface ectodermal cells and that Rac1 is necessary for the formation of membrane ruffles which typify late closure stages, whereas Cdc42 is required for the predominance of filopodia in early neurulation. This study provides evidence for the essential role and molecular regulation of membrane protrusions prior to fusion of a key organ primordium in mammalian development.