Tensile Forces Govern Germ-Layer Organization in Zebrafish

Nat Cell Biol. 2008 Apr;10(4):429-36. doi: 10.1038/ncb1705. Epub 2008 Mar 23.

Abstract

Understanding the factors that direct tissue organization during development is one of the most fundamental goals in developmental biology. Various hypotheses explain cell sorting and tissue organization on the basis of the adhesive and mechanical properties of the constituent cells. However, validating these hypotheses has been difficult due to the lack of appropriate tools to measure these parameters. Here we use atomic force microscopy (AFM) to quantify the adhesive and mechanical properties of individual ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm progenitor cells from gastrulating zebrafish embryos. Combining these data with tissue self-assembly in vitro and the sorting behaviour of progenitors in vivo, we have shown that differential actomyosin-dependent cell-cortex tension, regulated by Nodal/TGFbeta-signalling (transforming growth factor beta), constitutes a key factor that directs progenitor-cell sorting. These results demonstrate a previously unrecognized role for Nodal-controlled cell-cortex tension in germ-layer organization during gastrulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell Aggregation / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Germ Layers* / physiology
  • Germ Layers* / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Nodal Protein
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / genetics
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism

Substances

  • Nodal Protein
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Zebrafish Proteins