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Mechanotransduction in Development

Emmanuel Farge 1, *
* Corresponding author
Abstract : Biochemical patterning and morphogenetic movements coordinate the design of embryonic development. The molecular processes that pattern and closely control morphogenetic movements are today becoming well understood. Recent experimental evidence demonstrates that mechanical cues generated by morphogenesis activate mechanotransduction pathways, which in turn regulate cytoskeleton remodeling, cell proliferation, tissue differentiation. From Drosophila oocytes and embryos to Xenopus and mouse embryos and Arabidopsis meristem, here we review the developmental processes known to be activated in vivo by the mechanical strains associated to embryonic multicellular tissue morphogenesis. We describe the genetic, mechanical, and magnetic tools that have allowed the testing of mechanical induction in development by a step-by-step uncoupling of genetic inputs from mechanical inputs in embryogenesis. We discuss the known underlying molecular mechanisms involved in such mechanotransduction processes, including the Armadillo/β-catenin activation of Twist and the Fog-dependent stabilization of Myosin-II. These mechanotransduction processes are associated with a variety of physiological functions, such as mid-gut differentiation, mesoderm invagination and skeletal joint differentiation in embryogenesis, cell migration and internal pressure regulation during oogenesis, and meristem morphogenesis. We describe how the conservation of associated mechanosensitive pathways in embryonic and adult tissues opens new perspectives on mechanical involvement, potentially in evolution, and in cancer progression.
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Emmanuel Farge. Mechanotransduction in Development. Current Topics in Developmental Biology, Elsevier, 2011, 95, pp.243-65. ⟨10.1016/B978-0-12-385065-2.00008-6⟩. ⟨inserm-02441041⟩

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