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Epithelial differentiation and morphogenesis in Drosophila


Disciplines Biology, Physics
Research fields Biophysics, Cell biology,  Biological and medical imaging, Biomechanics
Supporting organisms CNRS, UCBL
Geographical location ENS de Lyon (Campus Charles Mérieux)
Team leader Muriel Grammont

Epithelial cell shape depends on an internal balance between the actomyosin cytoskeleton, the Adherens Junctions and the Focal Adhesions. How these internal cell shape effectors are impacted by compressive forces generated by adjacent growing tissues is unknown. To tackle this question, we use the Drosophila ovarian follicle, in which cuboidal epithelial cells are apically compressed by germline cytoplasmic pressure, while simultaneously being basally constrained by a basement membrane. We previously demonstrated that these two surrounding tissues mechanically drives cuboidal cells to become either squamous or columnar. Our aim is to determine the mechanisms by which compressive forces (germline cytoplasmic pressure and basement membrane stiffness) modify cell shape effectors (the cytoskeleton and adhesion proteins) to allow cell morphogenesis. We use a multidisciplinary approach (including 4D reconstructions, homoFRET, biophysics and optogenetics) to achieve our objectives.