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Biomechanical regulation of EMT and epithelial morphogenesis in amniote epiblast.

March 15 2019

Hamidi S, Nakaya Y, Nagai H, Alev C, Shibata T, Sheng G.

Phys Biol. 2019 Mar 15. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/ab1048. [Epub ahead of print]

In simple language:
In this review, Dr. Sofiane Hamidi in Prof. Guojun Sheng's lab summarized and discussed experimental data highlighting the requirement of biomechanical forces in amniotes epiblast morphogenesis and subsequent EMT process, and drew a parallel with mechanisms of cancer metastasis.

Review summary:
Epiblast is composed of pluripotent cells which will give rise to all cell lineages in a human body. It forms a single-cell layered epithelium conserved among all amniotic vertebrates (birds, reptiles and mammals) and undergoes complex morphogenesis both before and during gastrulation. Our knowledge of the amniote epiblast is based on data acquired through cellular and molecular analyses of early chick and mouse embryos in vivo and mammalian pluripotent stem cells in vitro. Very few studies have been published on biomechanical characteristics of the amniote epiblast, largely due to lack of experimental tools for measuring and perturbing biomechanical properties. Also missing is a conceptual framework that can integrate both biomechanical and molecular parameters of the epiblast. This review is aimed at providing a background based on which epiblast morphogenesis, including its transition between the epithelial and mesenchymal states, can be understood from a biomechanical perspective. This simple developmental biology system is suitable for testing a multitude of theoretical models in biomechanics, leading to a better understanding of biomechanical logics and constraints governing multicellular organization.