Measurement of junctional tension in epithelial cells at the onset of primitive streak formation in the chick embryo via non-destructive optical manipulation

Valentina Ferro, Manli Chuai, David McGloin, Kees Weijer (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Directional cell intercalations of epithelial cells during gastrulation has, in several organisms, been shown to be associated with a planar cell polarity in the organisation of the actin-myosin cytoskeleton and is postulated to reflect directional tension that drives oriented cell intercalations. We have characterised and applied a recently introduced non-destructive optical manipulation technique to measure the tension in individual epithelial cell junctions of cells in various locations and orientations in the epiblast of chick embryos in the early stages of primitive streak formation. Junctional tension of mesendoderm precursors in the epiblast is higher in junctions oriented in the direction of intercalation than in junctions oriented perpendicular to the direction of intercalation and higher than in junctions of other cells in the epiblast. The kinetic data fit best with a simple viscoelastic Maxwell model, and we find that junctional tension, and to a lesser extent viscoelastic relaxation time, are dependent on myosin activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number175109
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2020


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