Mechanochemical regulation of oscillatory follicle cell dynamics in the developing Drosophila egg chamber

Sarita Koride, Li He, Li Ping Xiong, Ganhui Lan, Denise J. Montell, Sean X. Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


During tissue elongation from stage 9 to stage 10 in Drosophila oogenesis, the egg chamber increases in length by ∼1.7-fold while increasing in volume by eightfold. During these stages, spontaneous oscillations in the contraction of cell basal surfaces develop in a subset of follicle cells. This patterned activity is required for elongation of the egg chamber; however, the mechanisms generating the spatiotemporal pattern have been unclear. Here we use a combination of quantitative modeling and experimental perturbation to show that mechanochemical interactions are sufficient to generate oscillations of myosin contractile activity in the observed spatiotemporal pattern. We propose that follicle cells in the epithelial layer contract against pressure in the expanding egg chamber. As tension in the epithelial layer increases, Rho kinase signaling activates myosin assembly and contraction. The activation process is cooperative, leading to a limit cycle in the myosin dynamics. Our model produces asynchronous oscillations in follicle cell area and myosin content, consistent with experimental observations. In addition, we test the prediction that removal of the basal lamina will increase the average oscillation period. The model demonstrates that in principle, mechanochemical interactions are sufficient to drive patterning and morphogenesis, independent of patterned gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3709-3716
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 5 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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