The segregation of different cell types into distinct tissues is a fundamental process in metazoan development. Differences in cell adhesion and cortex tension are commonly thought to drive cell sorting by regulating tissue surface tension (TST). However, the role that differential TST plays in cell segregation within the developing embryo is as yet unclear. Here, we have analyzed the role of differential TST for germ layer progenitor cell segregation during zebrafish gastrulation. Contrary to previous observations that differential TST drives germ layer progenitor cell segregation in vitro, we show that germ layers display indistinguishable TST within the gastrulating embryo, arguing against differential TST driving germ layer progenitor cell segregation in vivo We further show that the osmolarity of the interstitial fluid (IF) is an important factor that influences germ layer TST in vivo, and that lower osmolarity of the IF compared with standard cell culture medium can explain why germ layers display differential TST in culture but not in vivo Finally, we show that directed migration of mesendoderm progenitors is required for germ layer progenitor cell segregation and germ layer formation.
Keywords: Cell internalization; Gastrulation; Tissue surface tension; Zebrafish.
© 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.