Morphomechanical approach to embryonic development

Lev V. Beloussov
Lab of Developmental Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University
Wednesday 30th March 2016
Aula Seminari
Morphogenesis, that is, creation of new forms and structures in development of organisms is the main but still poorly understood component of ontogenesis. By the modern criteria, it belongs to the processes of self-organization, which may be simulated by two kinds of models: chemo-diffusional and those based upon mechanical forces/stresses. Among the advantages of the latter ones are naturally arisen feedbacks with 3-dimensional geometry, permitting to reproduce the complication of shapes without introducing each time ad hoc taken interventions. As a first step, a plausibility of mechanical models was supported by discovering the patterns of mechanical stresses (MS) in embryonic tissues, regularly arranged in space/time of development. The next step was to explore whether the already established MS can affect newly generated mechanical forces within cells creating thus the feedback loops able to drive forth morphogenesis. Experimental and model evidences on the existence of such feedbacks will be presented. Recently, the interest to morphomechanical approaches was greatly enhanced by discovery of mechanosensitive genes participating in development of Drosophila, fishes and amphibians. Taken together, the data obtained during several last decades strongly argue for a fundamental role of mechanically based feedbacks in regulating development of organisms on different structural levels. contact: