2020 article

Mechanical competition alters the cellular interpretation of an endogenous genetic programme

Bhide, S., Gombalova, D., Mönke, G., Stegmaier, J., Zinchenko, V., Kreshuk, A., … Leptin, M. (2020, October 15). (Vol. 10). Vol. 10.

Source: ORCID
Added: October 16, 2020

Abstract The intrinsic genetic programme of a cell is not sufficient to explain all of the cell’s activities. External mechanical stimuli are increasingly recognized as determinants of cell behaviour. In the epithelial folding event that constitutes the beginning of gastrulation in Drosophila , the genetic programme of the future mesoderm leads to the establishment of a contractile actomyosin network that triggers apical constriction of cells, and thereby, tissue folding. However, some cells do not constrict but instead stretch, even though they share the same genetic programme as their constricting neighbours. We show here that tissue-wide interactions force these cells to expand even when an otherwise sufficient amount of apical, active actomyosin is present. Models based on contractile forces and linear stress-strain responses do not reproduce experimental observations, but simulations in which cells behave as ductile materials with non-linear mechanical properties do. Our models show that this behaviour is a general emergent property of actomyosin networks [in a supracellular context, in accordance with our experimental observations of actin reorganisation within stretching cells.