Contact area-dependent cell communication and the morphological invariance of ascidian embryogenesis

Guignard L.*, Fiuza U.-M.*, Leggio B., Laussu J., Faure E., K., Michelin G., Biasuz K., Hufnagel L., Malandain G., Godin C., Lemaire P

Science

9 juil. 2020

Ascidians, or sea squirts, are marine invertebrate filter feeders with highly reproducible cellular events and invariant embryonic cell lineages. Guignard et al. studied the ascidian embryo to address the determinants of this cellular reproducibility. They introduce computational methods for the robust and automated segmentation, tracking, and analysis of whole-cell behaviors in high-throughput light-sheet microscopy datasets. This work shows that cell induction can be controlled by the contact area among cells. The range of cell signaling is proposed to set the scale at which animal embryonic reproducibility is observed. A high level of reproducibility of embryonic geometries may also counter-intuitively lift constraints on genome evolution, thereby contributing to the rapid molecular evolution observed in ascidians.

Contact area-dependent cell communication and the morphological invariance of ascidian embryogenesis