Epithelial rotation promotes the global alignment of contractile actin bundles during Drosophila egg chamber elongation

Nat Commun. 2014 Nov 21:5:5511. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6511.


Tissues use numerous mechanisms to change shape during development. The Drosophila egg chamber is an organ-like structure that elongates to form an elliptical egg. During elongation the follicular epithelial cells undergo a collective migration that causes the egg chamber to rotate within its surrounding basement membrane. Rotation coincides with the formation of a 'molecular corset', in which actin bundles in the epithelium and fibrils in the basement membrane are all aligned perpendicular to the elongation axis. Here we show that rotation plays a critical role in building the actin-based component of the corset. Rotation begins shortly after egg chamber formation and requires lamellipodial protrusions at each follicle cell's leading edge. During early stages, rotation is necessary for tissue-level actin bundle alignment, but it becomes dispensable after the basement membrane is polarized. This work highlights how collective cell migration can be used to build a polarized tissue organization for organ morphogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actins
  • Animals
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Polarity
  • Contractile Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Eye Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Morphogenesis
  • Oogenesis / genetics*
  • Ovum / growth & development*
  • Pseudopodia / metabolism*
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • Abi protein, Drosophila
  • Actins
  • Cadherins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Contractile Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Eye Proteins
  • GAL4 protein, Drosophila
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • SCAR protein, Drosophila
  • Transcription Factors
  • kug protein, Drosophila
  • mirr protein, Drosophila