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Development. 2019 Sep 6;146(17). pii: dev171256. doi: 10.1242/dev.171256.

Response of Drosophila epithelial cell and tissue shape to external forces in vivo.

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Center for Biological Systems Analysis, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Habsburgerstrasse 49, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
Faculty of Biology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Grosshaderner Str. 2-4, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany.
Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine (SGBM), Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Albertstrasse 19A, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
Center for Biological Systems Analysis, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Habsburgerstrasse 49, 79104 Freiburg, Germany


How actomyosin generates forces at epithelial adherens junctions has been extensively studied. However, less is known about how a balance between internal and external forces establishes epithelial cell, tissue and organ shape. We used the Drosophila egg chamber to investigate how contractility at adherens junctions in the follicle epithelium is modulated to accommodate and resist forces arising from the growing germ line. We found that between stages 6 and 9, adherens junction tension in the post-mitotic epithelium decreases, suggesting that the junctional network relaxes to accommodate germline growth. At that time, a prominent medial Myosin II network coupled to corrugating adherens junctions develops. Local enrichment of medial Myosin II in main body follicle cells resists germline-derived forces, thus constraining apical areas and, consequently, cuboidal cell shapes at stage 9. At the tissue and organ level, local reinforcement of medial junction architecture ensures the timely contact of main body cells with the expanding oocyte and imposes circumferential constraints on the germ line guiding egg elongation. Our study provides insight into how adherens junction tension promotes cell and tissue shape transitions while integrating the growth and shape of an internally enclosed structure in vivo.


Adherens junction; Canoe; External forces; Follicle epithelium; Myosin II; Nurse cell


Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare no competing or financial interests.

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