The syncytial Drosophila embryo as a mechanically excitable medium.

Timon Idema, Julien O. Dubuis, Louis Kang, Mary Elizabeth Manning, Philip C. Nelson, Tom C. Lubensky, Andrea J. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mitosis in the early syncytial Drosophila embryo is highly correlated in space and time, as manifested in mitotic wavefronts that propagate across the embryo. In this paper we investigate the idea that the embryo can be considered a mechanically-excitable medium, and that mitotic wavefronts can be understood as nonlinear wavefronts that propagate through this medium. We study the wavefronts via both image analysis of confocal microscopy videos and theoretical models. We find that the mitotic waves travel across the embryo at a well-defined speed that decreases with replication cycle. We find two markers of the wavefront in each cycle, corresponding to the onsets of metaphase and anaphase. Each of these onsets is followed by displacements of the nuclei that obey the same wavefront pattern. To understand the mitotic wavefronts theoretically we analyze wavefront propagation in excitable media. We study two classes of models, one with biochemical signaling and one with mechanical signaling. We find that the dependence of wavefront speed on cycle number is most naturally explained by mechanical signaling, and that the entire process suggests a scenario in which biochemical and mechanical signaling are coupled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere77216
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Wavefronts
Drosophila
Embryonic Structures
anaphase
metaphase
travel
space and time
mitosis
image analysis
Anaphase
Metaphase
Mitosis
Confocal Microscopy
Theoretical Models
Confocal microscopy
Wave propagation
Image analysis
confocal microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Idema, T., Dubuis, J. O., Kang, L., Manning, M. E., Nelson, P. C., Lubensky, T. C., & Liu, A. J. (2013). The syncytial Drosophila embryo as a mechanically excitable medium. PLoS One, 8(10), [e77216].

The syncytial Drosophila embryo as a mechanically excitable medium. / Idema, Timon; Dubuis, Julien O.; Kang, Louis; Manning, Mary Elizabeth; Nelson, Philip C.; Lubensky, Tom C.; Liu, Andrea J.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 8, No. 10, e77216, 2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Idema, T, Dubuis, JO, Kang, L, Manning, ME, Nelson, PC, Lubensky, TC & Liu, AJ 2013, 'The syncytial Drosophila embryo as a mechanically excitable medium.', PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 10, e77216.
Idema T, Dubuis JO, Kang L, Manning ME, Nelson PC, Lubensky TC et al. The syncytial Drosophila embryo as a mechanically excitable medium. PLoS One. 2013;8(10). e77216.
Idema, Timon ; Dubuis, Julien O. ; Kang, Louis ; Manning, Mary Elizabeth ; Nelson, Philip C. ; Lubensky, Tom C. ; Liu, Andrea J. / The syncytial Drosophila embryo as a mechanically excitable medium. In: PLoS One. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 10.
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