Condensation of the Drosophila Nerve Cord is Oscillatory and depends on Coordinated Mechanical Interactions

Author (s): Karkali, K.; Tiwari, P.; Singh, A.; Tlili, S.; Jorba, I.; Navajas, D.; Muñoz, J.J.; Saunders, T.E. and Martin-Blanco, E.
Journal: Developmental Cell

Volume: 57
Pages: 867 – 882
Date: 2022

During development, organs reach precise shapes and sizes. Organ morphology is not always obtained through growth; a classic counterexample is condensation of the nervous system during Drosophila embryogenesis. The mechanics underlying such condensation remain poorly understood. Here, we characterize the condensation of the embryonic ventral nerve cord (VNC), at both subcellular and tissue scales. This analysis reveals that condensation is not a unidirectional continuous process, but instead occurs through oscillatory contractions. The VNC mechanical properties spatially and temporally vary, and forces along its longitudinal axis are spatially heterogeneous. We demonstrate that the process of VNC condensation is dependent on the coordinated mechanical activities of neurons and glia. These outcomes are consistent with a viscoelastic model of condensation, which incorporates time delays and effective frictional interactions. In summary, we have defined the progressive mechanics driving VNC condensation, providing insights into how a highly viscous tissue can autonomously change shape and size.


   author = "K. Karkali and P. Tiwari and A. Singh and S. Tlili and I. Jorba and D. Navajas and J.J. Muoz and T.E. Saunders and E. Martin-Blanco",
   title = "Condensation of the Drosophila Nerve Cord is Oscillatory and depends on Coordinated Mechanical Interactions",
   journal = "Developmental Cell",
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   year = "2022",
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