Mechanical feedback and robustness of apical constrictions in Drosophila embryo ventral furrow formation

Michael C. Holcomb, Guo Jie Jason Gao, Mahsa Servatii, Dylan Schneider, Presley K. McNeely, Jeffrey H. Thomas, Jerzy Blawzdziewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Formation of the ventral furrow in the Drosophila embryo relies on the apical constriction of cells in the ventral region to produce bending forces that drive tissue invagination. In our recent paper we observed that apical constrictions during the initial phase of ventral furrow formation produce elongated patterns of cellular constriction chains prior to invagination and argued that these are indicative of tensile stress feedback. Here, we quantitatively analyze the constriction patterns preceding ventral furrow formation and find that they are consistent with the predictions of our active-granular-fluid model of a monolayer of mechanically coupled stress-sensitive constricting particles. Our model shows that tensile feedback causes constriction chains to develop along underlying precursor tensile stress chains that gradually strengthen with subsequent cellular constrictions. As seen in both our model and available optogenetic experiments, this mechanism allows constriction chains to penetrate or circumvent zones of reduced cell contractility, thus increasing the robustness of ventral furrow formation to spatial variation of cell contractility by rescuing cellular constrictions in the disrupted regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1009173
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


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