University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > DAMTP BioLunch > Live response of Xenopus ciliated ectoderm to exogenous flow

Live response of Xenopus ciliated ectoderm to exogenous flow

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During embryonic development, the orientation of motile cilia is established in part through the action of mechanical forces, but the underling mechanisms remain unclear. A working hypothesis is that hydrodynamic torques that act on the cilia are transmitted to the basal bodies, which then reorient through viscoelastic or active processes. A direct test of this mechanism has remained outstanding.

The skin of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) larvae is covered by ciliated cells very similar to those on humans, and provides an accessible model system to study the development of ciliated tissues. We have developed a protocol for live imaging of Xenopus ectoderm explants within a flow chamber. Our experiments show that exogenous flow do not solely leads to cilia rotation, but also to changes in the relative position of the basal bodies, cell shape and cell intercalation.

Cilia reorientation is then expected to be driven not only by hydrodynamic torques, but also by an overall remodelling of the ciliated tissue in response to the applied shear and pressure.

This talk is part of the DAMTP BioLunch series.

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