BIOMECHANICS

Measuring the forces that shape tissues

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Science  13 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6223, pp. 733
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6223.733-e

During development, intracellular molecular motors generate forces that cause cells to change shape and remodel their contacts with other cells. But exactly how these forces change cell shape is largely unknown. Bambardekar et al. used light-sheet microscopy and optical tweezers to image a developing fruit fly embryo and directly measure the tension at cell-cell junctions. As morphogenesis progressed, the tension increased and became anisotropic (directional) across the embryo. On the basis of these measurements and by monitoring the effect of cell deformations on neighboring cells, the authors then created a model that predicts how local deformations propagate through the tissue.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1418732112 (2015).

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