Tension regulates myosin dynamics during Drosophila embryonic wound repair

J Cell Sci. 2017 Feb 15;130(4):689-696. doi: 10.1242/jcs.196139.


Embryos repair epithelial wounds rapidly in a process driven by collective cell movements. Upon wounding, actin and the molecular motor non-muscle myosin II are redistributed in the cells adjacent to the wound, forming a supracellular purse string around the lesion. Purse string contraction coordinates cell movements and drives rapid wound closure. By using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching in Drosophila embryos, we found that myosin turns over as the purse string contracts. Myosin turnover at the purse string was slower than in other actomyosin networks that had a lower level of contractility. Mathematical modelling suggested that myosin assembly and disassembly rates were both reduced by tension at the wound edge. We used laser ablation to show that tension at the purse string increased as wound closure progressed, and that the increase in tension was associated with reduced myosin turnover. Reducing purse string tension by laser-mediated severing resulted in increased turnover and loss of myosin. Finally, myosin motor activity was necessary for its stabilization around the wound and for rapid wound closure. Our results indicate that mechanical forces regulate myosin dynamics during embryonic wound repair.

Keywords: Cell mechanics; Cytoskeletal dynamics; Drosophila; Embryonic wound healing; Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching; Laser ablation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism*
  • Myosin Type II / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Stability
  • Wound Healing*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Sqh protein, Drosophila
  • Myosin Type II