Rxivist logo

Three-dimensional tissue stiffness mapping in the mouse embryo supports durotaxis during early limb bud morphogenesis

By Min Zhu, Hirotaka Tao, Mohammad Samani, Mengxi Luo, Xian Wang, Sevan Hopyan, Yu Sun

Posted 08 Sep 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/412072

Numerous biophysical hypotheses invoke tissue stiffness as a key parameter for shaping tissue during development and for influencing cell behaviours during disease progression. However, currently available methods are insufficient to test hypotheses that concern the physical properties of bulk tissues. Here we introduce, validate and apply a new 3D magnetic device that generates a uniform magnetic field gradient within a space that is sufficient to accommodate a vertebrate, organ-stage embryo under live conditions. The device allows for rapid, nontoxic measurement of the spatial variation of absolute elastic modulus and viscosity deep within mesenchymal tissues and within epithelia. By applying the device to map the spatiotemporal variation of viscoelastic properties within the early mouse limb bud, we identified an anteriorly biased mesodermal stiffness gradient along which cells move collectively to shape the early bud. Tissue stiffness corresponds to the nascent expression domain of fibronectin that is Wnt5a-dependent. The findings challenge the notion that Wnt5a regulates cell movements by chemotaxis, and raises the possibility that Wnt5a modifies the tissue microenvironment to promote durotaxis in vivo. Importantly, the ability to precisely measure tissue stiffness in 3D has the potential to instigate and refine mechanisms of development and disease progression.

Download data

  • Downloaded 1,302 times
  • Download rankings, all-time:
    • Site-wide: 20,023
    • In developmental biology: 319
  • Year to date:
    • Site-wide: 21,887
  • Since beginning of last month:
    • Site-wide: 70,115

Altmetric data

Downloads over time

Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide