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      Multiple Forces Contribute to Cell Sheet Morphogenesis for Dorsal Closure in Drosophila


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          The molecular and cellular bases of cell shape change and movement during morphogenesis and wound healing are of intense interest and are only beginning to be understood. Here, we investigate the forces responsible for morphogenesis during dorsal closure with three approaches. First, we use real-time and time-lapsed laser confocal microscopy to follow actin dynamics and document cell shape changes and tissue movements in living, unperturbed embryos. We label cells with a ubiquitously expressed transgene that encodes GFP fused to an autonomously folding actin binding fragment from fly moesin. Second, we use a biomechanical approach to examine the distribution of stiffness/tension during dorsal closure by following the response of the various tissues to cutting by an ultraviolet laser. We tested our previous model (Young, P.E., A.M. Richman, A.S. Ketchum, and D.P. Kiehart. 1993. Genes Dev. 7:29–41) that the leading edge of the lateral epidermis is a contractile purse-string that provides force for dorsal closure. We show that this structure is under tension and behaves as a supracellular purse-string, however, we provide evidence that it alone cannot account for the forces responsible for dorsal closure. In addition, we show that there is isotropic stiffness/tension in the amnioserosa and anisotropic stiffness/tension in the lateral epidermis. Tension in the amnioserosa may contribute force for dorsal closure, but tension in the lateral epidermis opposes it. Third, we examine the role of various tissues in dorsal closure by repeated ablation of cells in the amnioserosa and the leading edge of the lateral epidermis. Our data provide strong evidence that both tissues appear to contribute to normal dorsal closure in living embryos, but surprisingly, neither is absolutely required for dorsal closure. Finally, we establish that the Drosophila epidermis rapidly and reproducibly heals from both mechanical and ultraviolet laser wounds, even those delivered repeatedly. During healing, actin is rapidly recruited to the margins of the wound and a newly formed, supracellular purse-string contracts during wound healing. This result establishes the Drosophila embryo as an excellent system for the investigation of wound healing. Moreover, our observations demonstrate that wound healing in this insect epidermal system parallel wound healing in vertebrate tissues in situ and vertebrate cells in culture (for review see Kiehart, D.P. 1999. Curr. Biol. 9:R602–R605).

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          The healing of an adult skin wound is a complex process requiring the collaborative efforts of many different tissues and cell lineages. The behavior of each of the contributing cell types during the phases of proliferation, migration, matrix synthesis, and contraction, as well as the growth factor and matrix signals present at a wound site, are now roughly understood. Details of how these signals control wound cell activities are beginning to emerge, and studies of healing in embryos have begun to show how the normal adult repair process might be readjusted to make it less like patching up and more like regeneration.
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            Many structural features of the mammalian central nervous system can be explained by a morphogenetic mechanism that involves mechanical tension along axons, dendrites and glial processes. In the cerebral cortex, for example, tension along axons in the white matter can explain how and why the cortex folds in a characteristic species-specific pattern. In the cerebellum, tension along parallel fibres can explain why the cortex is highly elongated but folded like an accordion. By keeping the aggregate length of axonal and dendritic wiring low, tension should contribute to the compactness of neural circuitry throughout the adult brain.
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              T Xu, G Rubin (1993)
              We have constructed a series of strains to facilitate the generation and analysis of clones of genetically distinct cells in developing and adult tissues of Drosophila. Each of these strains carries an FRT element, the target for the yeast FLP recombinase, near the base of a major chromosome arm, as well as a gratuitous cell-autonomous marker. Novel markers that carry epitope tags and that are localized to either the cell nucleus or cell membrane have been generated. As a demonstration of how these strains can be used to study a particular gene, we have analyzed the developmental role of the Drosophila EGF receptor homolog. Moreover, we have shown that these strains can be utilized to identify new mutations in mosaic animals in an efficient and unbiased way, thereby providing an unprecedented opportunity to perform systematic genetic screens for mutations affecting many biological processes.

                Author and article information

                J Cell Biol
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                17 April 2000
                : 149
                : 2
                : 471-490
                [a ]Department of Cell Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology Program, University Program in Genetics and the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710-3709
                © 2000 The Rockefeller University Press
                : 15 October 1999
                : 10 March 2000
                : 14 March 2000
                Original Article

                Cell biology
                gfp moesin,biomechanical,wound healing,amnioserosa,actin
                Cell biology
                gfp moesin, biomechanical, wound healing, amnioserosa, actin


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