Unified quantitative characterization of epithelial tissue development

Elife. 2015 Dec 12;4:e08519. doi: 10.7554/eLife.08519.


Understanding the mechanisms regulating development requires a quantitative characterization of cell divisions, rearrangements, cell size and shape changes, and apoptoses. We developed a multiscale formalism that relates the characterizations of each cell process to tissue growth and morphogenesis. Having validated the formalism on computer simulations, we quantified separately all morphogenetic events in the Drosophila dorsal thorax and wing pupal epithelia to obtain comprehensive statistical maps linking cell and tissue scale dynamics. While globally cell shape changes, rearrangements and divisions all significantly participate in tissue morphogenesis, locally, their relative participations display major variations in space and time. By blocking division we analyzed the impact of division on rearrangements, cell shape changes and tissue morphogenesis. Finally, by combining the formalism with mechanical stress measurement, we evidenced unexpected interplays between patterns of tissue elongation, cell division and stress. Our formalism provides a novel and rigorous approach to uncover mechanisms governing tissue development.

Keywords: D. melanogaster; apoptosis; biomechanics; biophysics; cell division; cell dynamics; cell processes; cell rearrangements; cell shape changes; cellular material; development; developmental biology; force inference; growth; morphogenesis; stem cells; structural biology; tissue deformation; tissue dynamics; tissue mechanics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / growth & development*
  • Epithelium / embryology
  • Epithelium / growth & development*
  • Models, Biological*

Grants and funding

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.