Morphogenesis is governed by the interplay of molecular signals and mechanical forces across multiple length scales. The last decade has seen tremendous advances in our understanding of the dynamics of protein localization and turnover at sub-cellular length scales, and at the other end of the spectrum, of mechanics at tissue-level length scales. Integrating the two remains a challenge, however, because we lack a detailed understanding of the subcellular patterns of mechanical properties of cells within tissues. Here, in the context of the elongating body axis of Xenopus embryos, we combine tools from cell biology and physics to demonstrate that individual cell-cell junctions display finely-patterned local mechanical heterogeneity along their length. We show that such local mechanical patterning is essential for the cell movements of convergent extension and is imparted by locally patterned clustering of a classical cadherin. Finally, the patterning of cadherins and thus local mechanics along cell-cell junctions are controlled by Planar Cell Polarity signaling, a key genetic module for CE that is mutated in diverse human birth defects.
Raw data from time-lapse imaging are available on Dryad.
Data from:Mechanical heterogeneity along single cell-cell junctions is driven by lateral clustering of cadherins during vertebrate axis elongationDryad Digital Repository, doi: 10.5061/dryad.pg4f4qrph.
- John B Wallingford
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Animal work described here was performed in accordance with the UT Austin Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee protocol #AUP-2018-00225.
- Danelle Devenport, Princeton University, United States
- Received: December 2, 2020
- Accepted: May 1, 2021
- Accepted Manuscript published: May 25, 2021 (version 1)
© 2021, Huebner et al.
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