Collaborative Resources for
Learning Developmental Biology
Collaborative Resources for Learning Developmental Biology
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Axolotl Neurulation
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Richard Harland

Additional Author(s): Chenbei Chang

Published on SDB CoRe: Jan 17 2012

Morphogenic Movements: Neurulation
Morphogenesis: Cell Movements; Cell Shape Changes
Ectoderm-derived: Nervous System
Organism: Axolotl
Stage of Development: Embryo

Object Description

24-hour time-lapse microscopy of an axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) embryo undergoing neurulation.  The movie begins at late gastrula stage (about 48 hours after the first cleavage) and ends at tailbud stage.  During neurulation, the distinct repacking (convergence and extension) behavior of cells in the neural plate that lengthens the axis and brings the neural folds close together can be seen. There is elevation of the neural folds with bending of the neural plate as a result of apical constriction of neural plate cells.  Finally, fusion of the neural folds takes place.  The occasional small dark pulses are cell divisions, illustrating that cell division cannot be a major component of the movements.  This movie was made at the 2007 Embryology Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA.


Wallingford, J.B., Harland, R.M. Neural tube closure requires Dishevelled-dependent convergent extension of the midline. Development, 2002, 12:5815-5825.

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