A organização microtubular é "determinada" pelo formato de células epiteliais: mero acaso, fortuita necessidade ou design inteligente?

segunda-feira, maio 22, 2017

Microtubule organization is determined by the shape of epithelial cells

Juan Manuel Gomez, Lyubov Chumakova, Natalia A. Bulgakova & Nicholas H. Brown

Nature Communications 7, Article number: 13172 (2016)

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Drosophila Microtubules Morphogenesis

Received: 05 February 2016 Accepted: 08 September 2016

Published online: 25 October 2016

Figure 2: Changes in epidermal cell shape and MT organization correlate during embryogenesis.


Interphase microtubule organization is critical for cell function and tissue architecture. In general, physical mechanisms are sufficient to drive microtubule organization in single cells, whereas cells within tissues are thought to utilize signalling mechanisms. By improving the imaging and quantitation of microtubule alignment within developing Drosophila embryos, here we demonstrate that microtubule alignment underneath the apical surface of epithelial cells follows cell shape. During development, epidermal cell elongation and microtubule alignment occur simultaneously, but by perturbing cell shape, we discover that microtubule organization responds to cell shape, rather than the converse. A simple set of microtubule behaviour rules is sufficient for a computer model to mimic the observed responses to changes in cell surface geometry. Moreover, we show that microtubules colliding with cell boundaries zip-up or depolymerize in an angle-dependent manner, as predicted by the model. Finally, we show microtubule alignment responds to cell shape in diverse epithelia.


We thank J. Casal, J. Knoblich, S. Noselli, V. Riechmann, E. Piddini, D. St Johnston, D. Strutt for reagents and fly stocks, N. Lawrence and the Gurdon Institute Imaging Facility for help with 3D-SIM imaging, A. Maartens for critical reading of the manuscript, all members of the Brown lab for discussion throughout the work. This work was supported by grant BB/K00056X/1 from the UK Biotechnology, Biological Sciences Research Council. Gurdon Institute core funding was provided by the Wellcome Trust (092096) and Cancer Research UK (C6946/A14492). L.C. was supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh/Scottish Government.

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Author notes

Natalia A. Bulgakova & Nicholas H. Brown

These authors contributed equally to this work.

Juan Manuel Gomez

Present address: Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne, Cologne 50674, Germany

Natalia A. Bulgakova

Present address: Department of Biomedical Science, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK


Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, and the Gurdon Institute, The University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3DY, UK

Juan Manuel Gomez, Natalia A. Bulgakova & Nicholas H. Brown

School of Mathematics and Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3FD, UK

Lyubov Chumakova


J.M.G., N.A.B. and N.H.B. designed experiments, J.M.G. performed all experiments, L.C. did in silico modelling, and all authors contributed to writing the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Natalia A. Bulgakova or Nicholas H. Brown.

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