With the ramping up of investigations in various parts of the world into the mechanics of biology, I’ve decided to post my conversation with Institut Curie biophysicist Emmanuel Farge on the role of mechanics in reprogramming the embryo , relating to his work first published in the scientific literature in 2003, which was well received by the science establishment.
Emmanuel Farge:Exactly. Because you need the gene expression to have the germ-band extension. Then after you need the germ-band extension to have the expression of Twist at the anterior pole, which is mechanically induced. What I’m saying is that you always are in a situation where you cannot say that mechanics is more important than genetics and the reverse is true also. You have a strong coupling between the two.
Mechanics alone and physics alone is not enough. Genetics alone is not enough. Coupling both through mechanical induction allows us to understand this expression of Twist at the anterior pole of the embryo.
What we found in 2008, in fact, is that this mechanical induction of Twist in stomodeum is necessary for the correct tissue organization and formation of the anterior gut. If you don’t have this mechanical induction of Twist in the anterior pole cells, then the larva develops a gut but it does not express the good genes to make cells in order to digest. It’s not functional. More.
See also: The “beautiful mechanism” by which an egg becomes an embryo
Cells communicate to navigate a crowded embryo