Mechanical Coupling Coordinates the Co-elongation of Axial and Paraxial Tissues in Avian Embryos

Journal Article


Tissues undergoing morphogenesis impose mechanical effects on one another. How developmental programs adapt to or take advantage of these effects remains poorly explored. Here, using a combination of live imaging, modeling, and microsurgical perturbations, we show that the axial and paraxial tissues in the forming avian embryonic body coordinate their rates of elongation through mechanical interactions. First, a cell motility gradient drives paraxial presomitic mesoderm (PSM) expansion, resulting in compression of the axial neural tube and notochord; second, elongation of axial tissues driven by PSM compression and polarized cell intercalation pushes the caudal progenitor domain posteriorly; finally, the axial push drives progenitors to emigrate into the PSM to maintain tissue growth and cell motility. These interactions form an engine-like positive feedback loop, which ensures the tissue-coupling and self-sustaining characteristics of body elongation. Our results suggest a general role of inter-tissue forces in the coordination of complex morphogenesis involving distinct tissues.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Xiong, F; Ma, W; Bénazéraf, B; Mahadevan, L; Pourquié, O

Published Date

  • September 10, 2018

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1101/412866