Robustness of force and stress inference in an epithelial tissue

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2013;2013:2712-5. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2013.6610100.


During morphogenesis, the shape of a tissue emerges from collective cellular behaviors, which are in part regulated by mechanical and biochemical interactions between cells. Quantification of force and stress is therefore necessary to analyze the mechanisms controlling tissue morphogenesis. Recently, a mechanical measurement method based on force inference from cell shapes and connectivity has been developed. It is non-invasive, and can provide space-time maps of force and stress within an epithelial tissue, up to prefactors. We previously performed a comparative study of three force-inference methods, which differ in their approach of treating indefiniteness in an inverse problem between cell shapes and forces. In the present study, to further validate and compare the three force inference methods, we tested their robustness by measuring temporal fluctuation of estimated forces. Quantitative data of cell-level dynamics in a developing tissue suggests that variation of forces and stress will remain small within a short period of time (~minutes). Here, we showed that cell-junction tensions and global stress inferred by the Bayesian force inference method varied less with time than those inferred by the method that estimates only tension. In contrast, the amplitude of temporal fluctuations of estimated cell pressures differs less between different methods. Altogether, the present study strengthens the validity and robustness of the Bayesian force-inference method.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adherens Junctions / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Cell Shape
  • Cell Tracking
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Morphogenesis
  • Pressure
  • Stress, Mechanical*
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins