Wnt proteins can direct planar cell polarity in vertebrate ectoderm

Chih Wen Chu, Sergei Y. Sokol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The coordinated orientation of cells across the tissue plane, known as planar cell polarity (PCP), is manifested by the segregation of core PCP proteins to different sides of the cell. Secreted Wnt ligands are involved in many PCP-dependent processes, yet whether they act as polarity cues has been controversial. We show that in Xenopus early ectoderm, the Prickle3/Vangl2 complex was polarized to anterior cell edges and this polarity was disrupted by several Wnt antagonists. In midgastrula embryos, Wnt5a, Wnt11, and Wnt11b, but not Wnt3a, acted across many cell diameters to orient Prickle3/Vangl2 complexes away from their sources regardless of their positions relative to the body axis. The planar polarity of endogenous Vangl2 in the neuroectoderm was similarly redirected by an ectopic Wnt source and disrupted after depletion of Wnt11b in the presumptive posterior region of the embryo. These observations provide evidence for the instructive role of Wnt ligands in vertebrate PCP.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16463
Issue numberSeptember2016
StatePublished - 23 Sep 2016


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