News from CRG
CRG scientists describe a new mechanism shaping cells and generating cell contractile forces during development and organogenesis. The new mechanism, which has been published today in the journal Developmental Cell, includes strategies shared with programmed cell death but which have not previously been directly associated with force generation.
Jerome Solon and colleagues made a quantitative description of dorsal closure at a tri-dimensional level. They imaged the cells and, together with the physicist Guillaume Salbreux at the Francis Crick Institute in London, built a 3D model to enhance our understanding of what was happening at the single cell level. “Surprisingly, we found that cells were not elongating or changing their shape in the manner that was previously thought, but that the cells were actually changing their volume and shrinking.” When looking at the cells in most of the mechanisms underlying tissue contraction during development, we can see how they are changing their shape, turning flat cells into pear-like cells without an alteration in volume. However, in this case, the researchers observed that cells retain their thickness but decreased their volume, getting smaller.
Studying developmental processes such as the one presented contributes to a better understanding of organ development and maintenance. Also, the specific process of dorsal closure described in this work is one of the most studied ones because of its similarity with wound healing.
Saias et al. Decrease in Cell Volume Generates Contractile Forces Driving Dorsal Closure, Developmental Cell (2015).