Tension and epithelial morphogenesis in Drosophila early embryos

Claire M Lye, Bénédicte Sanson
Current Topics in Developmental Biology 2011, 95: 145-87
During morphogenesis, tissues are shaped by cell behaviors such as apical cell constriction and cell intercalation, which are the result of cell intrinsic forces, but are also shaped passively by forces acting on the cells. The latter extrinsic forces can be produced either within the deforming tissue by the tissue-scale integration of intrinsic forces, or outside the tissue by other tissue movements or by fluid flows. Here we review the intrinsic and extrinsic forces that sculpt the epithelium of early Drosophila embryos, focusing on three conserved morphogenetic processes: tissue internalization, axis extension, and segment boundary formation. Finally, we look at how the actomyosin cytoskeleton forms force-generating structures that power these three morphogenetic events at the cell and the tissue scales.

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