Actomyosin purse strings: renewable resources that make morphogenesis robust and resilient.
ABSTRACT: Dorsal closure in Drosophila is a model system for cell sheet morphogenesis and wound healing. During closure two sheets of lateral epidermis move dorsally to close over the amnioserosa and form a continuous epidermis. Forces from the amnioserosa and actomyosin-rich, supracellular purse strings at the leading edges of these lateral epidermal sheets drive closure. Purse strings generate the largest force for closure and occur during development and wound healing throughout phylogeny. We use laser microsurgery to remove some or all of the purse strings from developing embryos. Free edges produced by surgery undergo characteristic responses as follows. Intact cells in the free edges, which previously had no purse string, recoil away from the incision and rapidly assemble new, secondary purse strings. Next, recoil slows, then pauses at a turning point. Following a brief delay, closure resumes and is powered to completion by the secondary purse strings. We confirm that the assembly of the secondary purse strings requires RhoA. We show that alpha-actinin alternates with nonmuscle myosin II along purse strings and requires nonmuscle myosin II for its localization. Together our data demonstrate that purse strings are renewable resources that contribute to the robust and resilient nature of closure.
Project description:Drosophila's dorsal closure provides an excellent model system with which to analyze biomechanical processes during morphogenesis. During native closure, the amnioserosa, flanked by two lateral epidermal sheets, forms an eye-shaped opening with canthi at each corner. The dynamics of amnioserosa cells and actomyosin purse strings in the leading edges of epidermal cells promote closure, whereas the bulk of the lateral epidermis opposes closure. Canthi maintain purse string curvature (necessary for their dorsalward forces), and zipping at the canthi shortens leading edges, ensuring a continuous epithelium at closure completion. We investigated the requirement for intact canthi during closure with laser dissection approaches. Dissection of one or both canthi resulted in tissue recoil and flattening of each purse string. After recoil and a temporary pause, closure resumed at approximately native rates until slowing near the completion of closure. Thus the amnioserosa alone can drive closure after dissection of one or both canthi, requiring neither substantial purse string curvature nor zipping during the bulk of closure. How the embryo coordinates multiple, large forces (each of which is orders of magnitude greater than the net force) during native closure and is also resilient to multiple perturbations are key extant questions.
Project description:Dorsal closure during Drosophila embryogenesis is an important model system for investigating the biomechanics of morphogenesis. During closure, two flanks of lateral epidermis (with actomyosin-rich purse strings near each leading edge) close an eye-shaped opening that is filled with amnioserosa. At each canthus (corner of the eye) a zipping process remodels the tissue interfaces between the leading edges of the lateral epidermis and the amnioserosa. We investigated zipping dynamics and found that apposing leading edge cells come together at their apical ends and then square off basally to form a lateral junction. Meanwhile, the purse strings act as contractile elastic rods bent toward the embryo interior near each canthus. We propose that a canthus-localized force contributes to both bending the ends of the purse strings and the formation of lateral junctions. We developed a thermodynamic model for zipping based on three-dimensional remodeling of the tissue interfaces and the reaction dynamics of adhesion molecules in junctions and elsewhere, which we applied to zipping during unperturbed wild-type closure and to laser or genetically perturbed closure. We identified two processes that can contribute to the zipping mechanism, consistent with experiments, distinguished by whether amnioserosa dynamics do or do not augment canthus adhesion dynamics.
Project description:Dorsal closure is an essential stage of Drosophila embryogenesis and is a powerful model system for morphogenesis, wound healing, and tissue biomechanics. During closure, two flanks of lateral epidermis close an eye-shaped dorsal opening that is filled with amnioserosa. The two flanks of lateral epidermis are zipped together at each canthus ("corner" of the eye). Actomyosin-rich purse strings are localized at each of the two leading edges of lateral epidermis ("lids" of the eye). Here we report that each purse string indents the dorsal surface at each leading edge. The amnioserosa tissue bulges outward during the early-to-mid stages of closure to form a remarkably smooth, asymmetric dome indicative of an isotropic and uniform surface tension. Internal pressure of the embryo and tissue elastic properties help to shape the dorsal surface.
Project description:Epithelial tissues are protective barriers that display a remarkable ability to repair wounds. Wound repair is often associated with an accumulation of actin and nonmuscle myosin II around the wound, forming a purse string. The role of actomyosin networks in generating mechanical force during wound repair is not well understood. Here we investigate the mechanisms of force generation during wound repair in the epidermis of early and late Drosophila embryos. We find that wound closure is faster in early embryos, where, in addition to a purse string around the wound, actomyosin networks at the medial cortex of the wounded cells contribute to rapid wound repair. Laser ablation demonstrates that both medial and purse-string actomyosin networks generate contractile force. Quantitative analysis of protein localization dynamics during wound closure indicates that the rapid contraction of medial actomyosin structures during wound repair in early embryos involves disassembly of the actomyosin network. By contrast, actomyosin purse strings in late embryos contract more slowly in a mechanism that involves network condensation. We propose that the combined action of two force-generating structures--a medial actomyosin network and an actomyosin purse string--contributes to the increased efficiency of wound repair in the early embryo.
Project description:Purse-string healing is driven by contraction of actin/myosin cables that span cells at wound edges, and it is the predominant mode of closing small round wounds in embryonic and some adult epithelia. Wounds can also heal by cell crawling, and my colleagues and I have shown previously that the presence of unconstrained, straight edges in sheets of epithelial cells is a sufficient signal to induce healing by crawling. Here, it is reported that the presence of highly concave edges, which are free or physically constrained by an inert material (agarose), is sufficient to induce formation of purse strings. It was determined that neither of the two types of healing required cell damage or other potential stimuli by using the particularly gentle procedure of introducing gaps by digesting agarose blocks imbedded in the cell sheets. Movement by crawling depends on signaling by the EGF receptor (EGFR); however, this was not required for purse-string contraction. A migrating epithelial cell sheet usually produces finger-like projections of crawling cells. The cells between fingers contain continuous actin cables, which were also determined to contain myosin IIA and exhibit additional characteristics of purse strings. When crawling was blocked by inhibition of EGFR signaling, the concave regions continued to move, suggesting that both mechanisms contribute to propel the sheets forward. Wounding epithelial cell sheets causes activation of the EGFR, which triggers movement by crawling. The EGFR was found to be activated only at straight and convex edges, which explains how both types of movement can coexist at leading epithelial edges.
Project description:Dorsal closure is a key process during Drosophila morphogenesis that models cell sheet movements in chordates, including neural tube closure, palate formation, and wound healing. Closure occurs midway through embryogenesis and entails circumferential elongation of lateral epidermal cell sheets that close a dorsal hole filled with amnioserosa cells. Signaling pathways regulate the function of cellular structures and processes, including Actomyosin and microtubule cytoskeletons, cell-cell/cell-matrix adhesion complexes, and endocytosis/vesicle trafficking. These orchestrate complex shape changes and movements that entail interactions between five distinct cell types. Genetic and laser perturbation studies establish that closure is robust, resilient, and the consequence of redundancy that contributes to four distinct biophysical processes: contraction of the amnioserosa, contraction of supracellular Actomyosin cables, elongation (stretching?) of the lateral epidermis, and zipping together of two converging cell sheets. What triggers closure and what the emergent properties are that give rise to its extraordinary resilience and fidelity remain key, extant questions.
Project description:We report a model describing the various stages of dorsal closure of Drosophila. Inspired by experimental observations, we represent the amnioserosa by 81 hexagonal cells that are coupled mechanically through the position of the nodes and the elastic forces on the edges. In addition, each cell has radial spokes representing actin filaments on which myosin motors can attach and exert contractile forces on the nodes, the attachment being controlled by a signaling molecule. Thus, the model couples dissipative cell and tissue motion with kinetic equations describing the myosin and signal dynamics. In the early phase, amnioserosa cells oscillate as a result of coupling among the chemical signaling, myosin attachment/detachment, and mechanical deformation of neighboring cells. In the slow phase, we test two ratcheting mechanisms suggested by experiments: an internal ratchet by the apical and junctional myosin condensates, and an external one by the supracellular actin cables encircling the amnioserosa. Within the range of parameters tested, the model predictions suggest the former as the main contributor to cell and tissue area reduction in this stage. In the fast phase of dorsal closure, cell pulsation is arrested, and the cell and tissue areas contract consistently. This is realized in the model by gradually shrinking the resting length of the spokes. Overall, the model captures the key features of dorsal closure through the three distinct phases, and its predictions are in good agreement with observations.
Project description:Programmed patterns of gene expression, cell-cell signaling, and cellular forces cause morphogenic movements during dorsal closure. We investigated the apical cell-shape changes that characterize amnioserosa cells during dorsal closure in Drosophila embryos with in vivo imaging of green-fluorescent-protein-labeled DE-cadherin. Time-lapsed, confocal images were assessed with a novel segmentation algorithm, Fourier analysis, and kinematic and dynamical modeling. We found two generic processes, reversible oscillations in apical cross-sectional area and cell ingression characterized by persistent loss of apical area. We quantified a time-dependent, spatially-averaged sum of intracellular and intercellular forces acting on each cell's apical belt of DE-cadherin. We observed that a substantial fraction of amnioserosa cells ingress near the leading edges of lateral epidermis, consistent with the view that ingression can be regulated by leading-edge cells. This is in addition to previously observed ingression processes associated with zipping and apoptosis. Although there is cell-to-cell variability in the maximum rate for decreasing apical area (0.3-9.5 ?m(2)/min), the rate for completing ingression is remarkably constant (0.83 cells/min, r(2) > 0.99). We propose that this constant ingression rate contributes to the spatiotemporal regularity of mechanical stress exerted by the amnioserosa on each leading edge during closure.
Project description:Collective cell movements play a central role in embryonic development, tissue repair, and metastatic disease. Cell movements are often coordinated by supracellular networks formed by the cytoskeletal protein actin and the molecular motor nonmuscle myosin II. During wound closure in the embryonic epidermis, the cells around the wound migrate collectively into the damaged region. In Drosophila embryos, mechanical tension stabilizes myosin at the wound edge, facilitating the assembly of a supracellular myosin cable around the wound that coordinates cell migration. Here, we show that actin is also stabilized at the wound edge. However, loss of tension or myosin activity does not affect the dynamics of actin at the wound margin. Conversely, pharmacological stabilization of actin does not affect myosin levels or dynamics around the wound. Together, our data suggest that actin and myosin are independently regulated during embryonic wound closure, thus conferring robustness to the embryonic wound healing response.
Project description:During Drosophila embryogenesis the process of dorsal closure (DC) results in continuity of the embryonic epidermis, and DC is well recognized as a model system for the analysis of epithelial morphogenesis as well as wound healing. During DC the flanking lateral epidermal sheets stretch, align, and fuse along the dorsal midline, thereby sealing a hole in the epidermis occupied by an extra-embryonic tissue known as the amnioserosa (AS). Successful DC requires the regulation of cell shape change via actomyosin contractility in both the epidermis and the AS, and this involves bidirectional communication between these two tissues. We previously demonstrated that transcriptional regulation of myosin from the zipper (zip) locus in both the epidermis and the AS involves the expression of Ack family tyrosine kinases in the AS in conjunction with Dpp secreted from the epidermis. A major function of Ack in other species, however, involves the negative regulation of Egfr. We have, therefore, asked what role Egfr might play in the regulation of DC. Our studies demonstrate that Egfr is required to negatively regulate epidermal expression of dpp during DC. Interestingly, we also find that Egfr signaling in the AS is required to repress zip expression in both the AS and the epidermis, and this may be generally restrictive to the progression of morphogenesis in these tissues. Consistent with this theme of restricting morphogenesis, it has previously been shown that programmed cell death of the AS is essential for proper DC, and we show that Egfr signaling also functions to inhibit or delay AS programmed cell death. Finally, we present evidence that Ack regulates zip expression by promoting the endocytosis of Egfr in the AS. We propose that the general role of Egfr signaling during DC is that of a braking mechanism on the overall progression of DC.