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Nat Commun. 2015 Oct 26;6:8677. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9677.

Embryo-scale tissue mechanics during Drosophila gastrulation movements.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory Heidelberg, Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.
Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana, Jadranska 19, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Erwin Schrödinger International Institute for Mathematical Physics, University of Vienna, Boltzmanngasse 9, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


Morphogenesis of an organism requires the development of its parts to be coordinated in time and space. While past studies concentrated on defined cell populations, a synthetic view of the coordination of these events in a whole organism is needed for a full understanding. Drosophila gastrulation begins with the embryo forming a ventral furrow, which is eventually internalized. It is not understood how the rest of the embryo participates in this process. Here we use multiview selective plane illumination microscopy coupled with infrared laser manipulation and mutant analysis to dissect embryo-scale cell interactions during early gastrulation. Lateral cells have a denser medial-apical actomyosin network and shift ventrally as a compact cohort, whereas dorsal cells become stretched. We show that the behaviour of these cells affects furrow internalization. A computational model predicts different mechanical properties associated with tissue behaviour: lateral cells are stiff, whereas dorsal cells are soft. Experimental analysis confirms these properties in vivo.

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