Chapter

How cell mechanics shapes embryos

Michel Labouesse

in New Trends in the Physics and Mechanics of Biological Systems

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199605835
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729522 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605835.003.0011

Series: Lecture Notes of the Les Houches Summer School

How cell mechanics shapes embryos

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Embryonic morphogenesis refers to the stages during which embryos and their organs acquire their functional structure. It requires groups of cells with similar properties to organize themselves in space and adopt distinctive shapes. The physical mechanisms that control cell dynamics during that time are slowly beginning to emerge from the study of a few simple systems. This chapter presents some examples outlining the current understanding of cell mechanics from the physics point of view, emphasizing the balance between cortical tension and cell adhesion, the behaviour of motors, and the response to tension. It also outlines how modelling is gaining prominence.

Keywords: embryonic development; morphogenesis; cell shape; cytoskeleton; junctions; tension; adhesion; boundary; Drosophila; C. elegans

Chapter.  8232 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Physics

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