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For nearly 150 years, it has been recognized that cell shape strongly influences the orientation of the mitotic cleavage plane (e.g., Hofmeister, 1863). However, we still understand little about the complex interplay between cell shape and cleavage-plane orientation in epithelia, where polygonal cell geometries emerge from multiple factors, including cell(More)
Mechanical forces play a key role in a wide range of biological processes, from embryogenesis to cancer metastasis, and there is considerable interest in the intuitive question, "Can cellular forces be inferred from cell shapes?" Although several groups have posited affirmative answers to this stimulating question, nagging issues remained regarding equation(More)
The absence of tools for mapping the forces that drive morphogenetic movements in embryos has impeded our understanding of animal development. Here we describe a unique approach, video force microscopy (VFM), that allows detailed, dynamic force maps to be produced from time-lapse images. The forces at work in an embryo are considered to be decomposed into(More)
The novel multi-scale computational approach introduced here makes possible a new means for testing hypotheses about the forces that drive specific morphogenetic movements. A 3D model based on this approach is used to investigate neurulation in the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), a type of amphibian. The model is based on geometric data from 3D surface(More)
The article provides a biomechanical analysis of ventral furrow formation in the Drosophila melanogaster embryo. Ventral furrow formation is the first large-scale morphogenetic movement in the fly embryo. It involves deformation of a uniform cellular monolayer formed following cellularisation, and has therefore long been used as a simple system in which to(More)
Three algorithms for determining the bulk geometric properties of cellular structures from a stationary digital image are presented. The geometrical properties of interest include cell orientation and cell aspect ratio. With future test data expected to possess high luminance variability, poor contrast near element boundaries and irregular discolouration,(More)
A fundamental feature of multicellular organisms is their ability to self-repair wounds through the movement of epithelial cells into the damaged area. This collective cellular movement is commonly attributed to a combination of cell crawling and "purse-string" contraction of a supracellular actomyosin ring. Here we show by direct experimental measurement(More)
— A method is proposed to determine the average cellular geometry in high-resolution images of embryonic epithelia. The concept of a 'composite cell' is used to represent the average cell shape. This composite cell can provide evidence of stresses present in the epithelia. A new adaptive contrast enhancement routine is applied to the input image first,(More)
In order to obtain the first quantitative measurements of the in vivo stresses in early-stage amphibian embryos, we developed a novel instrument that uses a pair of parallel wires that are glued to the surface of an embryo normal to the direction in which the stress is to be determined. When a slit is made parallel to the wires and between them, tension in(More)