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Development. 2017 Jan 1;144(1):95-105. doi: 10.1242/dev.139865. Epub 2016 Nov 25.

Remodeling of adhesion and modulation of mechanical tensile forces during apoptosis in Drosophila epithelium.

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Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543.
Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117411.
CNRS, UMR 6290, Institute of Genetics and Development of Rennes, F-35043 Rennes, France.
Université Rennes 1, Faculté de Médecine, F35043 Rennes, France.
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543
Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, Singapore 117604.


Apoptosis is a mechanism of eliminating damaged or unnecessary cells during development and tissue homeostasis. During apoptosis within a tissue, the adhesions between dying and neighboring non-dying cells need to be remodeled so that the apoptotic cell is expelled. In parallel, contraction of actomyosin cables formed in apoptotic and neighboring cells drives cell extrusion. To date, the coordination between the dynamics of cell adhesion and the progressive changes in tissue tension around an apoptotic cell is not fully understood. Live imaging of histoblast expansion, which is a coordinated tissue replacement process during Drosophila metamorphosis, shows remodeling of adherens junctions (AJs) between apoptotic and non-dying cells, with a reduction in the levels of AJ components, including E-cadherin. Concurrently, surrounding tissue tension is transiently released. Contraction of a supra-cellular actomyosin cable, which forms in neighboring cells, brings neighboring cells together and further reshapes tissue tension toward the completion of extrusion. We propose a model in which modulation of tissue tension represents a mechanism of apoptotic cell extrusion.


Apoptosis; Cell adhesion; Drosophila; Force; Tissue mechanics

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