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Mechanical heterogeneity along single cell-cell junctions is driven by lateral clustering of cadherins during vertebrate axis elongation

By Robert Huebner, Abdul N. Malmi-Kakkada, Sena Sarikaya, Shinuo Weng, Dave Thirumalai, John B. Wallingford

Posted 12 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.11.944033

Morphogenesis is governed by the interplay of molecular signals and mechanical forces across length scales. The last decade has seen tremendous advances in understanding the dynamics of protein localization and turnover at sub-cellular length scales, and at the other end of the spectrum, of tissue-level mechanics s. Integrating the two remains a challenge, because we lack a detailed understanding of the subcellular patterns of mechanical properties of cells within tissues. Here, in the elongating axis of vertebrate embryos, we combine tools from cell biology and physics to demonstrate that individual cell-cell junctions display patterned mechanical heterogeneity. These local mechanics are essential for the cell movements of convergent extension and are imparted by patterned clustering of a classical cadherin. Finally, the patterning of cadherins and thus local mechanics along cell-cell junctions are controlled by Planar Cell Polarity signaling, a key genetic module for CE that is mutated in human birth defects. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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