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      Triggering a cell shape change by exploiting preexisting actomyosin contractions.

      Science (New York, N.Y.)
      Actomyosin, chemistry, physiology, Animals, Caenorhabditis elegans, cytology, embryology, Cell Membrane, ultrastructure, Cell Shape, Computer Simulation, Cytoskeleton, Drosophila melanogaster, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching, Gastrulation, Intercellular Junctions, Mechanical Phenomena, Models, Biological, Morphogenesis, Myosins

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          Abstract

          Apical constriction changes cell shapes, driving critical morphogenetic events, including gastrulation in diverse organisms and neural tube closure in vertebrates. Apical constriction is thought to be triggered by contraction of apical actomyosin networks. We found that apical actomyosin contractions began before cell shape changes in both Caenorhabitis elegans and Drosophila. In C. elegans, actomyosin networks were initially dynamic, contracting and generating cortical tension without substantial shrinking of apical surfaces. Apical cell-cell contact zones and actomyosin only later moved increasingly in concert, with no detectable change in actomyosin dynamics or cortical tension. Thus, apical constriction appears to be triggered not by a change in cortical tension, but by dynamic linking of apical cell-cell contact zones to an already contractile apical cortex.

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          Most cited references32

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          C. elegans: des neurones et des gènes

          The human brain contains 100 billion neurons and probably one thousand times more synapses. Such a system can be analyzed at different complexity levels, from cognitive functions to molecular structure of ion channels. However, it remains extremely difficult to establish links between these different levels. An alternative strategy relies on the use of much simpler animals that can be easily manipulated. In 1974, S. Brenner introduced the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system. This worm has a simple nervous system that only contains 302 neurons and about 7,000 synapses. Forward genetic screens are powerful tools to identify genes required for specific neuron functions and behaviors. Moreover, studies of mutant phenotypes can identify the function of a protein in the nervous system. The data that have been obtained in C. elegans demonstrate a fascinating conservation of the molecular and cellular biology of the neuron between worms and mammals through more than 550 million years of evolution.
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            Scaling the microrheology of living cells.

            We report a scaling law that governs both the elastic and frictional properties of a wide variety of living cell types, over a wide range of time scales and under a variety of biological interventions. This scaling identifies these cells as soft glassy materials existing close to a glass transition, and implies that cytoskeletal proteins may regulate cell mechanical properties mainly by modulating the effective noise temperature of the matrix. The practical implications are that the effective noise temperature is an easily quantified measure of the ability of the cytoskeleton to deform, flow, and reorganize.
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              Planar polarized actomyosin contractile flows control epithelial junction remodelling.

              Force generation by Myosin-II motors on actin filaments drives cell and tissue morphogenesis. In epithelia, contractile forces are resisted at apical junctions by adhesive forces dependent on E-cadherin, which also transmits tension. During Drosophila embryonic germband extension, tissue elongation is driven by cell intercalation, which requires an irreversible and planar polarized remodelling of epithelial cell junctions. We investigate how cell deformations emerge from the interplay between force generation and cortical force transmission during this remodelling in Drosophila melanogaster. The shrinkage of dorsal-ventral-oriented ('vertical') junctions during this process is known to require planar polarized junctional contractility by Myosin II (refs 4, 5, 7, 12). Here we show that this shrinkage is not produced by junctional Myosin II itself, but by the polarized flow of medial actomyosin pulses towards 'vertical' junctions. This anisotropic flow is oriented by the planar polarized distribution of E-cadherin complexes, in that medial Myosin II flows towards 'vertical' junctions, which have relatively less E-cadherin than transverse junctions. Our evidence suggests that the medial flow pattern reflects equilibrium properties of force transmission and coupling to E-cadherin by α-Catenin. Thus, epithelial morphogenesis is not properly reflected by Myosin II steady state distribution but by polarized contractile actomyosin flows that emerge from interactions between E-cadherin and actomyosin networks.
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