Miyagi, C., Yamashita, S., Ohba, Y., Yoshizaki, H., Matsuda, M., and Hirano, T. (2004) STAT3 noncell-autonomously controls planar cell polarity during zebrafish convergence and extension. The Journal of cell biology. 166(7):975-981.
Zebrafish signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) controls the cell movements during gastrulation. Here, we show that noncell-autonomous activity of STAT3 signaling in gastrula organizer cells controls the polarity of neighboring cells through Dishevelled-RhoA signaling in the Wnt-planar cell polarity (Wnt-PCP) pathway. In STAT3-depleted embryos, although all the known molecules in the Wnt-PCP pathway were expressed normally, the RhoA activity in lateral mesendodermal cells was down-regulated, resulting in severe cell polarization defects in convergence and extension movements identical to Strabismus-depleted embryos. Cell-autonomous activation of Wnt-PCP signaling by DeltaN-dishevelled rescued the defect in cell elongation, but not the orientation of lateral mesendodermal cells in STAT3-depleted embryos. The defect in the orientation could be rescued by transplantation of shield cells having noncell-autonomous activity of STAT3 signaling. These results suggest that the cells undergoing convergence and extension movement may sense the gradient of signaling molecules, which are expressed in gastrula organizer by STAT3 and noncell-autonomously activate PCP signaling in neighboring cells during zebrafish gastrulation.