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Elife. 2015 Dec 12;4. pii: e08519. doi: 10.7554/eLife.08519.

Unified quantitative characterization of epithelial tissue development.

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Polarity, Division and Morphogenesis Team, Genetics and Developmental Biology Unit (CNRS UMR3215/Inserm U934), Institut Curie, Paris, France.
Department of Physics, School of Science and Technology, Meiji University, Kanagawa, Japan.
Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.
Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology (PRESTO), Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo, Japan.
Laboratoire Matière et Systèmes Complexes (CNRS UMR7057), Université Paris-Diderot, Paris, France.


Understanding the mechanisms regulating development requires a quantitative characterization of cell divisions, rearrangements, cell size and shape changes, and apoptoses. We developed a multiscale formalism that relates the characterizations of each cell process to tissue growth and morphogenesis. Having validated the formalism on computer simulations, we quantified separately all morphogenetic events in the Drosophila dorsal thorax and wing pupal epithelia to obtain comprehensive statistical maps linking cell and tissue scale dynamics. While globally cell shape changes, rearrangements and divisions all significantly participate in tissue morphogenesis, locally, their relative participations display major variations in space and time. By blocking division we analyzed the impact of division on rearrangements, cell shape changes and tissue morphogenesis. Finally, by combining the formalism with mechanical stress measurement, we evidenced unexpected interplays between patterns of tissue elongation, cell division and stress. Our formalism provides a novel and rigorous approach to uncover mechanisms governing tissue development.


D. melanogaster; apoptosis; biomechanics; biophysics; cell division; cell dynamics; cell processes; cell rearrangements; cell shape changes; cellular material; development; developmental biology; force inference; growth; morphogenesis; stem cells; structural biology; tissue deformation; tissue dynamics; tissue mechanics

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