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Surprisingly simple mechanical behavior of a complex embryonic tissue

von Dassow, M and Strother, JA and Davidson, LA (2010) Surprisingly simple mechanical behavior of a complex embryonic tissue. PLoS ONE, 5 (12).

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Background: Previous studies suggest that mechanical feedback could coordinate morphogenetic events in embryos. Furthermore, embryonic tissues have complex structure and composition and undergo large deformations during morphogenesis. Hence we expect highly non-linear and loading-rate dependent tissue mechanical properties in embryos. Methodology/Principal Findings: We used micro-aspiration to test whether a simple linear viscoelastic model was sufficient to describe the mechanical behavior of gastrula stage Xenopus laevis embryonic tissue in vivo. We tested whether these embryonic tissues change their mechanical properties in response to mechanical stimuli but found no evidence of changes in the viscoelastic properties of the tissue in response to stress or stress application rate. We used this model to test hypotheses about the pattern of force generation during electrically induced tissue contractions. The dependence of contractions on suction pressure was most consistent with apical tension, and was inconsistent with isotropic contraction. Finally, stiffer clutches generated stronger contractions, suggesting that force generation and stiffness may be coupled in the embryo. Conclusions/Significance: The mechanical behavior of a complex, active embryonic tissue can be surprisingly well described by a simple linear viscoelastic model with power law creep compliance, even at high deformations. We found no evidence of mechanical feedback in this system. Together these results show that very simple mechanical models can be useful in describing embryo mechanics. © 2010 von Dassow et al.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
von Dassow, M
Strother, JA
Davidson, LAlad43@pitt.eduLAD430000-0002-2956-0437
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Date: 1 December 2010
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Volume: 5
Number: 12
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015359
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Bioengineering
Refereed: Yes
MeSH Headings: Animals; Developmental Biology--methods; Elasticity; Embryo, Nonmammalian; Gastrula--physiology; Models, Statistical; Morphogenesis--physiology; Muscle Contraction; Stress, Mechanical; Surface Properties; Viscosity; Xenopus laevis
Other ID: NLM PMC3011006
PubMed Central ID: PMC3011006
PubMed ID: 21203396
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2012 16:40
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 15:55


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