2021 journal article

A mechanical model of early somite segmentation

IScience, 24(4), 102317.

By: P. Adhyapok*, A. Piatkowska*, M. Norman n, S. Clendenon*, C. Stern*, J. Glazier*, J. Belmonte n

TL;DR: A corresponding mechanical model of epithelial segmentation in early somitogenesis is developed in which a wave of apical constriction leads to increasing tension and periodic failure of adhesion junctions within the dorsal epithelial layer of the PSM, forming clefts which determine the eventual somite boundaries. (via Semantic Scholar)
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Source: ORCID
Added: March 19, 2021

Somitogenesis is often described using the clock-and-wavefront (CW) model, which does not explain how molecular signaling rearranges the pre-somitic mesoderm (PSM) cells into somites. Our scanning electron microscopy analysis of chicken embryos reveals a caudally-progressing epithelialization front in the dorsal PSM that precedes somite formation. Signs of apical constriction and tissue segmentation appear in this layer 3-4 somite lengths caudal to the last-formed somite. We propose a mechanical instability model in which a steady increase of apical contractility leads to periodic failure of adhesion junctions within the dorsal PSM and positions the future inter-somite boundaries. This model produces spatially periodic segments whose size depends on the speed of the activation front of contraction (F), and the buildup rate of contractility (Λ). The Λ/F ratio determines whether this mechanism produces spatially and temporally regular or irregular segments, and whether segment size increases with the front speed.