Myosin-II-mediated cell shape changes and cell intercalation contribute to primitive streak formation

Emil Rozbicki (Lead / Corresponding author), Manli Chuai, Antti Karjalainen, Feifei Song, Helen M. Sang, Rene Martin, Hans-Joachim Knolker, Michael MacDonald, Cornelis J. Weijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)


Primitive streak formation in the chick embryo involves large-scale highly coordinated flows of more than 100,000 cells in the epiblast. These large-scale tissue flows and deformations can be correlated with specific anisotropic cell behaviours in the forming mesendoderm through a combination of light-sheet microscopy and computational analysis. Relevant behaviours include apical contraction, elongation along the apical–basal axis followed by ingression, and asynchronous directional cell intercalation of small groups of mesendoderm cells. Cell intercalation is associated with sequential, directional contraction of apical junctions, the onset, localization and direction of which correlate strongly with the appearance of active myosin II cables in aligned apical junctions in neighbouring cells. Use of class specific myosin inhibitors and gene-specific knockdown shows that apical contraction and intercalation are myosin II dependent and also reveal critical roles for myosin I and myosin V family members in the assembly of junctional myosin II cables.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-408
Number of pages12
JournalNature Cell Biology
Issue number4
Early online date27 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


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