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Apoptotic Force and Tissue Dynamics During Drosophila Embryogenesis

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Science  19 Sep 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5896, pp. 1683-1686
DOI: 10.1126/science.1157052

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Abstract

Understanding cell morphogenesis during metazoan development requires knowledge of how cells and the extracellular matrix produce and respond to forces. We investigated how apoptosis, which remodels tissue by eliminating supernumerary cells, also contributes forces to a tissue (the amnioserosa) that promotes cell-sheet fusion (dorsal closure) in the Drosophila embryo. We showed that expression in the amnioserosa of proteins that suppress or enhance apoptosis slows or speeds dorsal closure, respectively. These changes correlate with the forces produced by the amnioserosa and the rate of seam formation between the cell sheets (zipping), key processes that contribute to closure. This apoptotic force is used by the embryo to drive cell-sheet movements during development, a role not classically attributed to apoptosis.

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