Visceral organ morphogenesis via calcium-patterned muscle constrictions

TitleVisceral organ morphogenesis via calcium-patterned muscle constrictions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsMitchell NP, Cislo DJ, Shankar S, Lin Y, Shraiman BI, Streichan SJ
Secondary AuthorsBagnat M, Stainier DYR
Date Publishedmay
Keywordscalcium signaling, hox genes, light sheet microscopy, mesoderm, morphogenesis, visceral organ

Organ architecture is often composed of multiple laminar tissues arranged in concentric layers. During morphogenesis, the initial geometry of visceral organs undergoes a sequence of folding, adopting a complex shape that is vital for function. Genetic signals are known to impact form, yet the dynamic and mechanical interplay of tissue layers giving rise to organs' complex shapes remains elusive. Here, we trace the dynamics and mechanical interactions of a developing visceral organ across tissue layers, from subcellular to organ scale in vivo. Combining deep tissue light-sheet microscopy for in toto live visualization with a novel computational framework for multilayer analysis of evolving complex shapes, we find a dynamic mechanism for organ folding using the embryonic midgut of \textitDrosophila as a model visceral organ. Hox genes, known regulators of organ shape, control the emergence of high-frequency calcium pulses. Spatiotemporally patterned calcium pulses trigger muscle contractions via myosin light chain kinase. Muscle contractions, in turn, induce cell shape change in the adjacent tissue layer. This cell shape change collectively drives a convergent extension pattern. Through tissue incompressibility and initial organ geometry, this in-plane shape change is linked to out-of-plane organ folding. Our analysis follows tissue dynamics during organ shape change in vivo, tracing organ-scale folding to a high-frequency molecular mechanism. These findings offer a mechanical route for gene expression to induce organ shape change: genetic patterning in one layer triggers a physical process in the adjacent layer – revealing post-translational mechanisms that govern shape change.