Last month in journal club we read Dr. Daniela Roellig’s paper “Force-generating apoptotic cells orchestrate avian neural tube bending” from Dr. Magali Suzanne’s lab. Recently published in Developmental Cell, this was a new and exciting paper for the field of developmental biology and tissue remodeling. The authors examined the role of apoptosis in the process of neural tube folding in avian embryos. After observing a high density of apoptotic cells in dorsolateral hinge points of the folding neural tube, the authors asked how these dying cells might contribute to bending of the neuroepithelium. They discovered that as an apoptotic cell dies an apico-basal force is generated via actomyosin dynamics that causes deformations to both the apical and basal side of the neuroepithelium, which contributes to the physical bending. These findings advance our understanding of the mechanics of neural tube closure and highlight apoptosis as a key player in biomechanical processes.
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