A simplified mechanism for anisotropic constriction in drosophila mesoderm

Konstantin Doubrovinski, Joel Tchoufag, Kranthi Mandadapu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Understanding how forces and material properties give rise to tissue shapes is a fundamental issue in developmental biology. Although Drosophila gastrulation is a well-used system for investigating tissue morphogenesis, a consensus mechanical model that explains all the key features of this process does not exist. One key feature of Drosophila gastrulation is its anisotropy: the mesoderm constricts much more along one axis than along the other. Previous explanations have involved graded stress, anisotropic stresses or material properties, or mechanosensitive feedback. Here, we show that these mechanisms are not required to explain the anisotropy of constriction. Instead, constriction can be anisotropic if only two conditions are met: the tissue is elastic, as was demonstrated in our recent study; and the contractile domain is asymmetric. This conclusion is general and does not depend on the values of model parameters. Our model can explain results from classical tissuegrafting experiments and from more-recent laser ablation studies. Furthermore, our model may provide alternative explanations for experiments in other developmental systems, including C. elegans and zebrafish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdev167387
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2018


  • Anisotropy
  • Drosophila
  • Gastrulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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