Research Article

Hydraulic fracturing and active coarsening position the lumen of the mouse blastocyst

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6452, pp. 465-468
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw7709

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

The making of a lumen

During the early days of mammalian development, the formation and positioning of a fluid-filled lumen, the blastocoel, defines the first axis of embryo symmetry. Dumortier et al. describe how a blastocoel lumen arises from the hydraulic fracturing of cell-cell contacts into hundreds of micrometer-size water pockets that then form a single large lumen (see the Perspective by Arroyo and Trepat). The authors characterized the process of lumen formation mechanically and molecularly and were able to manipulate the first axis of symmetry of the mammalian embryo experimentally. Thus, fluid dynamics plays a key role in the embryo and may play a similar role in the formation of other biological cavities.

Science, this issue p. 465; see also p. 442

Abstract

During mouse pre-implantation development, the formation of the blastocoel, a fluid-filled lumen, breaks the radial symmetry of the blastocyst. The factors that control the formation and positioning of this basolateral lumen remain obscure. We found that accumulation of pressurized fluid fractures cell-cell contacts into hundreds of micrometer-size lumens. These microlumens eventually discharge their volumes into a single dominant lumen, which we model as a process akin to Ostwald ripening, underlying the coarsening of foams. Using chimeric mutant embryos, we tuned the hydraulic fracturing of cell-cell contacts and steered the coarsening of microlumens, allowing us to successfully manipulate the final position of the lumen. We conclude that hydraulic fracturing of cell-cell contacts followed by contractility-directed coarsening of microlumens sets the first axis of symmetry of the mouse embryo.

View Full Text