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19 Publications

Showing 1-10 of 19 results
Pavlopoulos Lab
08/22/19 | Regionalized tissue fluidization by an actomyosin cable is required for epithelial gap closure during insect gastrulation.
Jain A, Ulman V, Mukherjee A, Prakash M, Pimpale L, Munster S, Panfilio KA, Jug F, Grill SW, Tomancak P, Pavlopoulos A
bioRxiv. 2019 Aug 22:. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/744193

Many animal embryos face early on in development the problem of having to pull and close an epithelial sheet around the spherical yolk-sac. During this gastrulation process, known as epiboly, the spherical geometry of the egg dictates that the epithelial sheet first expands and subsequently compacts to close around the sphere. While it is well recognized that contractile actomyosin cables can drive epiboly movements, it is unclear how pulling on the leading edge can lead to simultaneous tissue expansion and compaction. Moreover, the epithelial sheet spreading over the sphere is mechanically stressed and this stress needs to be dissipated for seamless closure. While oriented cell division is known to dissipate tissue stresses during epiboly, it is unclear how this can be achieved without cell division. Here we show that during extraembryonic tissue (serosa) epiboly in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum, the non-proliferative serosa becomes regionalized into two distinct territories: a dorsal region under higher tension away from the leading edge with larger, isodiametric and non-rearranging cells, and a more fluid ventral region under lower tension surrounding the leading edge with smaller, anisotropic cells undergoing cell intercalation. Our results suggest that fluidization of the leading edge is effected by a heterogeneous actomyosin cable that drives sequential eviction and intercalation of individual cells away from the serosa margin. Since this developmental solution utilized during epiboly resembles the mechanism of wound healing in other systems, we propose actomyosin cable-driven local tissue fluidization as a conserved morphogenetic module for closure of epithelial gaps.

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Pavlopoulos Lab
03/27/19 | Attachment of the blastoderm to the vitelline envelope affects gastrulation of insects.
Muenster S, Jain A, Mietke A, Pavlopoulos A, Grill SW, Tomancak P
Nature. 2019 Mar 27:. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1044-3

During gastrulation, physical forces reshape the simple embryonic tissue to form the complex body plans of multicellular organisms. These forces often cause large-scale asymmetric movements of the embryonic tissue. In many embryos, the gastrulating tissue is surrounded by a rigid protective shell. Although it is well-recognized that gastrulation movements depend on forces that are generated by tissue-intrinsic contractility, it is not known whether interactions between the tissue and the protective shell provide additional forces that affect gastrulation. Here we show that a particular part of the blastoderm tissue of the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) tightly adheres in a temporally coordinated manner to the vitelline envelope that surrounds the embryo. This attachment generates an additional force that counteracts tissue-intrinsic contractile forces to create asymmetric tissue movements. This localized attachment depends on an αPS2 integrin (inflated), and the knockdown of this integrin leads to a gastrulation phenotype that is consistent with complete loss of attachment. Furthermore, analysis of another integrin (the αPS3 integrin, scab) in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) suggests that gastrulation in this organism also relies on adhesion between the blastoderm and the vitelline envelope. Our findings reveal a conserved mechanism through which the spatiotemporal pattern of tissue adhesion to the vitelline envelope provides controllable, counteracting forces that shape gastrulation movements in insects.

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Pavlopoulos Lab
10/02/18 | Integrin-mediated attachment of the blastoderm to the vitelline envelope impacts gastrulation of insects.
Muenster S, Jain A, Mietke A, Pavlopoulos A, Grill SW, Tomancak P
bioRxiv. 2018 Oct 2:. doi: 10.1101/421701

During gastrulation, physical forces reshape the simple embryonic tissue to form a complex body plan of multicellular organisms. These forces often cause large-scale asymmetric movements of the embryonic tissue. In many embryos, the tissue undergoing gastrulation movements is surrounded by a rigid protective shell. While it is well recognized that gastrulation movements depend on forces generated by tissue-intrinsic contractility, it is not known if interactions between the tissue and the protective shell provide additional forces that impact gastrulation. Here we show that a particular part of the blastoderm tissue of the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum tightly adheres in a temporally coordinated manner to the vitelline envelope surrounding the embryo. This attachment generates an additional force that counteracts the tissue-intrinsic contractile forces to create asymmetric tissue movements. Furthermore, this localized attachment is mediated by a specific integrin, and its knock-down leads to a gastrulation phenotype consistent with complete loss of attachment. Moreover, analysis of another integrin in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster suggests that gastrulation in this organism also relies on adhesion between the blastoderm and the vitelline. Together, our findings reveal a conserved mechanism whereby the spatiotemporal pattern of tissue adhesion to the vitelline envelope provides controllable counter-forces that shape gastrulation movements in insects.

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Keller LabPavlopoulos Lab
03/29/18 | Multi-view light-sheet imaging and tracking with the MaMuT software reveals the cell lineage of a direct developing arthropod limb.
Wolff C, Tinevez J, Pietzsch T, Stamataki E, Harich B, Guignard L, Preibisch S, Shorte S, Keller PJ, Tomancak P, Pavlopoulos A
eLife. 2018 Mar 29;7:e34410. doi: 10.7554/eLife.34410

During development, coordinated cell behaviors orchestrate tissue and organ morphogenesis. Detailed descriptions of cell lineages and behaviors provide a powerful framework to elucidate the mechanisms of morphogenesis. To study the cellular basis of limb development, we imaged transgenic fluorescently-labeled embryos from the crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis with multi-view light-sheet microscopy at high spatiotemporal resolution over several days of embryogenesis. The cell lineage of outgrowing thoracic limbs was reconstructed at single-cell resolution with new software called Massive Multi-view Tracker (MaMuT). In silico clonal analyses suggested that the early limb primordium becomes subdivided into anterior-posterior and dorsal-ventral compartments whose boundaries intersect at the distal tip of the growing limb. Limb-bud formation is associated with spatial modulation of cell proliferation, while limb elongation is also driven by preferential orientation of cell divisions along the proximal-distal growth axis. Cellular reconstructions were predictive of the expression patterns of limb development genes including the BMP morphogen Decapentaplegic.

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11/16/16 | The genome of the crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis: a model for animal development, regeneration, immunity and lignocellulose digestion.
Kao D, Lai AG, Stamataki E, Rosic S, Konstantinides N, Jarvis E, Di Donfrancesco A, Pouchkina-Stantcheva N, Semon M, Grillo M, Bruce H, Kumar S, Siwanowicz I, Le A, Lemire A, Extavour C, Browne W, Wolff C, Averof M, et al
eLife. 2016 Nov 16;5:e20062. doi: 10.7554/eLife.20062

Parhyale hawaiensis is a blossoming model system for studies of developmental mechanisms and more recently adult regeneration. We have sequenced the genome allowing annotation of all key signaling pathways, small non-coding RNAs and transcription factors that will enhance ongoing functional studies. Parhayle is a member of the Malacostraca, which includes crustacean food crop species. We analysed the immunity related genes of Parhyale as an important comparative system for these species, where immunity related aquaculture problems have increased as farming has intensified. We also find that Parhyale and other species within Multicrustacea contain the enzyme sets necessary to perform lignocellulose digestion (wood eating), suggesting this ability may predate the diversification of this lineage. Our data provide an essential resource for further development of the Parhyale model. The first Malacostracan genome sequence will underpin ongoing comparative work in important food crop species and research investigating lignocellulose as energy source.

Publication first appeared in BioRxiv on August 2, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/065789

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Pavlopoulos Lab
07/28/16 | Non-insect crustacean models in developmental genetics including an encomium to Parhyale hawaiensis.
Stamataki E, Pavlopoulos A
Current Opinion in Genetics & Development. 2016 Jul 28;39:149-156. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2016.07.004

The impressive diversity of body plans, lifestyles and segmental specializations exhibited by crustaceans (barnacles, copepods, shrimps, crabs, lobsters and their kin) provides great material to address longstanding questions in evolutionary developmental biology. Recent advances in forward and reverse genetics and in imaging approaches applied in the amphipod Parhyale hawaiensis and other emerging crustacean model species have made it possible to probe the molecular and cellular basis of crustacean diversity. A number of biological and technical qualities like the slow tempo and holoblastic cleavage mode, the stereotypy of many cellular processes, the functional and morphological diversity of limbs along the body axis, and the availability of various experimental manipulations, have made Parhyale a powerful system to study normal development and regeneration.

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Pavlopoulos Lab
05/18/16 | Toll genes have an ancestral role in axis elongation.
Benton MA, Pechmann M, Frey N, Stappert D, Conrads KH, Chen Y, Stamataki E, Pavlopoulos A, Roth S
Current Biology : CB. 2016 May 18;26(12):1609-15. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.04.055

One of the key morphogenetic processes used during development is the controlled intercalation of cells between their neighbors. This process has been co-opted into a range of developmental events, and it also underlies an event that occurs in each major group of bilaterians: elongation of the embryo along the anterior-posterior axis [1]. In Drosophila, a novel component of this process was recently discovered by Paré et al., who showed that three Toll genes function together to drive cell intercalation during germband extension [2]. This finding raises the question of whether this role of Toll genes is an evolutionary novelty of flies or a general mechanism of embryonic morphogenesis. Here we show that the Toll gene function in axis elongation is, in fact, widely conserved among arthropods. First, we functionally demonstrate that two Toll genes are required for cell intercalation in the beetle Tribolium castaneum. We then show that these genes belong to a previously undescribed Toll subfamily and that members of this subfamily exhibit striped expression (as seen in Tribolium and previously reported in Drosophila [3-5]) in embryos of six other arthropod species spanning the entire phylum. Last, we show that two of these Toll genes are required for normal morphogenesis during anterior-posterior embryo elongation in the spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum, a member of the most basally branching arthropod lineage. From our findings, we hypothesize that Toll genes had a morphogenetic function in embryo elongation in the last common ancestor of all arthropods, which existed over 550 million years ago.

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Pavlopoulos Lab
07/14/14 | Transgenesis in non-model organisms: the case of Parhyale.
Kontarakis Z, Pavlopoulos A
Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1196:145-81. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1242-1_10

One of the most striking manifestations of Hox gene activity is the morphological and functional diversity of arthropod body plans, segments, and associated appendages. Among arthropod models, the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis satisfies a number of appealing biological and technical requirements to study the Hox control of tissue and organ morphogenesis. Parhyale embryos undergo direct development from fertilized eggs into miniature adults within 10 days and are amenable to all sorts of embryological and functional genetic manipulations. Furthermore, each embryo develops a series of specialized appendages along the anterior-posterior body axis, offering exceptional material to probe the genetic basis of appendage patterning, growth, and differentiation. Here, we describe the methodologies and techniques required for transgenesis-based gain-of-function studies of Hox genes in Parhyale embryos. First, we introduce a protocol for efficient microinjection of early-stage Parhyale embryos. Second, we describe the application of fast and reliable assays to test the activity of the Minos DNA transposon in embryos. Third, we present the use of Minos-based transgenesis vectors to generate stable and transient transgenic Parhyale. Finally, we describe the development and application of a conditional heat-inducible misexpression system to study the role of the Hox gene Ultrabithorax in Parhyale appendage specialization. Beyond providing a useful resource for Parhyalists, this chapter also aims to provide a road map for researchers working on other emerging model organisms. Acknowledging the time and effort that need to be invested in developing transgenic approaches in new species, it is all worth it considering the wide scope of experimentation that opens up once transgenesis is established.

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Pavlopoulos Lab
02/14/14 | Tribolium embryo morphogenesis: may the force be with you.
Benton MA, Pavlopoulos A
Bioarchitecture. 2014 Jan-Feb;4(1):16-21. doi: 10.4161/bioa.27815

Development of multicellular organisms depends on patterning and growth mechanisms encoded in the genome, but also on the physical properties and mechanical interactions of the constituent cells that interpret these genetic cues. This fundamental biological problem requires integrated studies at multiple levels of biological organization: from genes, to cell behaviors, to tissue morphogenesis. We have recently combined functional genetics with live imaging approaches in embryos of the insect Tribolium castaneum, in order to understand their remarkable transformation from a uniform single-layered blastoderm into a condensed multi-layered embryo covered by extensive extra-embryonic tissues. We first developed a quick and reliable methodology to fluorescently label various cell components in entire Tribolium embryos. Live imaging of labeled embryos at single cell resolution provided detailed descriptions of cell behaviors and tissue movements during normal embryogenesis. We then compared cell and tissue dynamics between wild-type and genetically perturbed embryos that exhibited altered relative proportions of constituent tissues. This systematic comparison led to a qualitative model of the molecular, cellular and tissue interactions that orchestrate the observed epithelial rearrangements. We expect this work to establish the Tribolium embryo as a powerful and attractive model system for biologists and biophysicists interested in the molecular, cellular and mechanical control of tissue morphogenesis.

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Pavlopoulos Lab
08/01/13 | Cell and tissue dynamics during Tribolium embryogenesis revealed by versatile fluorescence labeling approaches.
Benton MA, Akam M, Pavlopoulos A
Development. 2013 Aug;140(15):3210-20. doi: 10.1242/dev.096271

Studies on new arthropod models such as the beetle Tribolium castaneum are shifting our knowledge of embryonic patterning and morphogenesis beyond the Drosophila paradigm. In contrast to Drosophila, Tribolium embryos exhibit the short-germ type of development and become enveloped by extensive extra-embryonic membranes, the amnion and serosa. The genetic basis of these processes has been the focus of active research. Here, we complement genetic approaches with live fluorescence imaging of Tribolium embryos to make the link between gene function and morphogenetic cell behaviors during blastoderm formation and differentiation, germband condensation and elongation, and extra-embryonic development. We first show that transient labeling methods result in strong, homogeneous and persistent expression of fluorescent markers in Tribolium embryos, labeling the chromatin, membrane, cytoskeleton or combinations thereof. We then use co-injection of fluorescent markers with dsRNA for live imaging of embryos with disrupted caudal gene function caused by RNA interference. Using these approaches, we describe and compare cell and tissue dynamics in Tribolium embryos with wild-type and altered fate maps. We find that Tribolium germband condensation is effected by cell contraction and intercalation, with the latter being dependent on the anterior-posterior patterning system. We propose that germband condensation drives initiation of amnion folding, whereas expansion of the amniotic fold and closure of the amniotic cavity are likely driven by contraction of an actomyosin cable at the boundary between the amnion and serosa. Our methodology provides a comprehensive framework for testing quantitative models of patterning, growth and morphogenetic mechanisms in Tribolium and other arthropod species.

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