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Development January 1, 2018; 145 (19):
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Multiscale analysis of architecture, cell size and the cell cortex reveals cortical F-actin density and composition are major contributors to mechanical properties during convergent extension.

Shawky JH , Balakrishnan UL , Stuckenholz C , Davidson LA .

The large-scale movements that construct complex three-dimensional tissues during development are governed by universal physical principles. Fine-grained control of both mechanical properties and force production is crucial to the successful placement of tissues and shaping of organs. Embryos of the frog Xenopus laevis provide a dramatic example of these physical processes, as dorsal tissues increase in Young''s modulus by six-fold to 80 Pascal over 8 h as germ layers and the central nervous system are formed. These physical changes coincide with emergence of complex anatomical structures, rounds of cell division, and cytoskeletal remodeling. To understand the contribution of these diverse structures, we adopt the cellular solids model to relate bulk stiffness of a solid foam to the unit size of individual cells, their microstructural organization, and their material properties. Our results indicate that large-scale tissue architecture and cell size are not likely to influence the bulk mechanical properties of early embryonic or progenitor tissues but that F-actin cortical density and composition of the F-actin cortex play major roles in regulating the physical mechanics of embryonic multicellular tissues.

PubMed ID: 30190279
PMC ID: PMC6198471
Article link: Development
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: actn1 ctnnb1 elavl1 fbn1 fn1 fscn1 mtor myl2 wee2

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Adams, The mechanics of notochord elongation, straightening and stiffening in the embryo of Xenopus laevis. 1991, Pubmed, Xenbase