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Join Dr Verena Ruprecht from Centre for Genomic Regulation for a Force Talk entitled 'Cell and tissue mechano-plasticity in the early embryo.' 


The body plan and shape of an organism emerges from dynamic processes at the single cell level. To robustly build multicellular structures and tissues of defined form and function, cells need to efficiently process both molecular and physical signals and adapt to noise and stress factors. We employ an interdisciplinary approach that comprises in vivo and bottom-up in vitro methods to identify mechanisms that control morphodynamic processes and functional plasticity at the cell and tissue level during vertebrate embryo development. We found that cells sense cell deformations by the activation of a mechano-transduction pathway in the nucleus that controls myosin II motor activity and cell stiffness. By this mechanisms cells adapt their mechanical characteristics and migratory phenotype to mechanical forces in their environment and I will discuss the relevance of this cellular mechano-adaptability in physiological and stress conditions. I will further present how functional plasticity is established at the tissue level. We identified that epithelial cells utilize the actin cytoskeletal machinery in various ways during morphogenesis and establish both a mechanical protection and phagocytic clearance function in the early embryo. These functions ensure embryo integrity and the removal of erroneous cells at the earliest stages of embryogenesis. Our data support that ‘mechano-plasticity’ facilitates efficient cellular multitasking and the robust development of an organism.

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At this event

Sergi  Garcia-Manyes

Professor of Biophysics