Epithelial−mesenchymal transition (EMT) is an essential process both in physiological and pathological contexts. Intriguingly, EMT is often associated with tissue invagination during development; however, the impact of EMT on tissue remodeling remain unexplored. Here, we show that at the initiation of the EMT process, cells produce an apico-basal force, orthogonal to the surface of the epithelium that constitutes an important driving force for tissue invagination in Drosophila. When EMT is ectopically induced, cells starting their delamination generate an orthogonal force and induce ectopic folding. Similarly, during mesoderm invagination, cells undergoing EMT generate an apico-basal force through the formation of apico-basal structures of myosin II. Using both laser microdissection and in silico physical modelling, we show that mesoderm invagination does not proceed if apico-basal forces are impaired, indicating that they constitute driving forces in the folding process. Altogether, these data reveal the mechanical impact of EMT on morphogenesis.
The link to this artcile: Gracia, Theis et al, 2019 Nature Communication
We recently reviewed our current knowledge regarding the stepwise nature of EMT in model organisms as diverse as sea urchin, Drosophila, zebrafish, mouse or chicken. We focus on the cellular dynamics and mechanics of the transitional stages by which epithelial cells progressively become mesenchymal and leave the epithelium. We gather the currently available pieces of the puzzle, including the overlooked property of EMT cells to produce mechanical forces along their apico-basal axis before detaching from their neighbours. We discuss the interplay between EMT and the surrounding tissue. Finally, we propose a conceptual framework of EMT cell dynamics from the very first hint of epithelial cell reorganisation to the successful exit from the epithelial sheet.
The link to this artcile: Font-Noguera, Montemurro et al, 2021 Cells & Development