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Curr Top Dev Biol. 2011;95:33-66. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385065-2.00002-5.

From cilia hydrodynamics to zebrafish embryonic development.

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Laboratory for Optics and Biosciences, Ecole Polytechnique, Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) UMR 7645, and Institut National de Santé et de Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U696, Palaiseau, France.


Embryonic development involves the cellular integration of chemical and physical stimuli. A key physical input is the mechanical stress generated during embryonic morphogenesis. This process necessitates tensile forces at the tissue scale such as during axis elongation and budding, as well as at the cellular scale when cells migrate and contract. Furthermore, cells can generate forces using motile cilia to produce flow. Cilia-driven flows are critical throughout embryonic development but little is known about the diversity of the forces they exert and the role of the mechanical stresses they generate. In this chapter, through an examination of zebrafish development, we highlight what is known about the role of hydrodynamics mediated by beating cilia and examine the physical features of flow fields from the modeling and experimental perspectives. We review imaging strategies to visualize and quantify beating cilia and the flow they generate in vivo. Finally, we describe the function of hydrodynamics during left-right embryonic patterning and inner ear development. Ideally, continued progress in these areas will help to address a key conceptual problem in developmental biology, which is to understand the interplay between environmental constraints and genetic control during morphogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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