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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jan 25;102(4):1047-52. Epub 2005 Jan 18.

In vivo modulation of morphogenetic movements in Drosophila embryos with femtosecond laser pulses.

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  • 1Mechanics and Genetics of Developmental Embryology, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 168, Curie Institute, 11 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, F-75005 Paris, France.


The complex biomechanical events associated with embryo development are investigated in vivo, by using femtosecond laser pulse-induced ablation combined with multimodal nonlinear microscopy. We demonstrate controlled intravital ablations preserving local cytoskeleton dynamics and resulting in the modulation of specific morphogenetic movements in nonmutant Drosophila embryos. A quantitative description of complex movements is obtained both in GFP-expressing systems by using whole-embryo two-photon microscopy and in unlabeled nontransgenic embryos by using third harmonic generation microscopy. This methodology provides insight into the issue of mechano-sensitive gene expression by revealing the correlation of in vivo tissue deformation patterns with Twist protein expression in stomodeal cells at gastrulation.

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