Planar cell polarity signalling coordinates heart tube remodelling through tissue-scale polarisation of actomyosin activity


  • A.M. Merks
  • M. Swinarski
  • A.M. Meyer
  • N.V. Müller
  • I. Özcan
  • S. Donat
  • A. Burger
  • S. Gilbert
  • C. Mosimann
  • S. Abdelilah-Seyfried
  • D. Panáková


  • Nature Communications


  • Nat Commun 9 (1): 2161


  • Development of a multiple-chambered heart from the linear heart tube is inherently linked to cardiac looping. Although many molecular factors regulating the process of cardiac chamber ballooning have been identified, the cellular mechanisms underlying the chamber formation remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that cardiac chambers remodel by cell neighbour exchange of cardiomyocytes guided by the planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway triggered by two non-canonical Wnt ligands, Wnt5b and Wnt11. We find that PCP signalling coordinates the localisation of actomyosin activity, and thus the efficiency of cell neighbour exchange. On a tissue-scale, PCP signalling planar-polarises tissue tension by restricting the actomyosin contractility to the apical membranes of outflow tract cells. The tissue-scale polarisation of actomyosin contractility is required for cardiac looping that occurs concurrently with chamber ballooning. Taken together, our data reveal that instructive PCP signals couple cardiac chamber expansion with cardiac looping through the organ-scale polarisation of actomyosin-based tissue tension.