Basal Cell-Extracellular Matrix Adhesion Regulates Force Transmission during Tissue Morphogenesis

Dev Cell. 2016 Dec 5;39(5):611-625. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.11.003.


Tissue morphogenesis requires force-generating mechanisms to organize cells into complex structures. Although many such mechanisms have been characterized, we know little about how forces are integrated across developing tissues. We provide evidence that integrin-mediated cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesion modulates the transmission of apically generated tension during dorsal closure (DC) in Drosophila. Integrin-containing adhesive structures resembling focal adhesions were identified on the basal surface of the amnioserosa (AS), an extraembryonic epithelium essential for DC. Genetic modulation of integrin-mediated adhesion results in defective DC. Quantitative image analysis and laser ablation experiments reveal that basal cell-ECM adhesions provide resistance to apical cell displacements and force transmission between neighboring cells in the AS. Finally, we provide evidence for integrin-dependent force transmission to the AS substrate. Overall, we find that integrins regulate force transmission within and between cells, thereby playing an essential role in transmitting tension in developing tissues.

Keywords: Drosophila; cell-ECM adhesion; dorsal closure; focal adhesions; integrins; morphogenesis; tissue mechanics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Drosophila / cytology
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Focal Adhesions / physiology
  • Integrins / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Morphogenesis / physiology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Integrins

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