I’m attempting to catch up on things after a long pause from updating my website.
First up – my PhD paper was published on BioRxiv and then in a special issue of Development.
In this paper we investigated how the morphogenesis of one tissue can physically deform its neighbouring tissues to contribute to the elongation of the embryo head-to-tail axis.
Using targeted multi-photon ablations I disrupted notochord morphogenesis by preventing the expansion of notochord vacuoles. Surprisingly segmentation-associated posterior body elongation was robust to near-complete notochord ablation. However, we found that notochord vacuole expansion facilitates the elongation of the axis at later stages of development.
The progressive expansion of notochord cell vacuoles leads to a posteriorly directed cell displacement, which is resisted by notochord cells in the posterior of the embryo whose vacuoles are yet to expand. Reversing this cell displacement or removing the resistance provided by posterior notochord cells led to decreased segmented tissue elongation.
Overall, we propose that the combination of notochord cell expansion beginning in the anterior, and addition of cells to the posterior notochord, generates a stretching force along the AP axis, deforming segmented tissue and facilitating axis elongation during post-tailbud stages of development