A Markov chain Monte Carlo model of mechanical-feedback-driven progressive apical constrictions captures the fluctuating collective cell dynamics in the Drosophila embryo


Communication via mechanical stress feedback is believed to play an important role in the intercellular coordination of collective cellular movements. One such movement is ventral furrow formation (VFF) in the Drosophila melanogaster embryo. We previously introduced an active granular fluid (AGF) model, which demonstrated that cellular constriction chains observed during the initial phase of VFF are likely the result of intercellular coordination by tensile-stress feedback. Further observation of individual cellular dynamics motivated us to introduce progressive constrictions and Markov chain Monte Carlo based fluctuation of particle radii to our AGF model. We use a novel stress-based Voronoi tessellation method to translate the anisotropic network of highly polydisperse, axisymmetric force centers into a confluent cellular layer. This allows us to apply a similar means of analysis to both live and simulated embryos. We find that our enhanced AGF model, which combines tensile mechanical stress feedback and individual cellular fluctuations, successfully captures collective cell dynamics.


© 2022 Gao, Holcomb, Thomas and Blawzdziewicz. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


Drosophila, embryo, morphogenesis, ventral furrow formation, cellular constrictions, mechanical feedback, constriction chains, Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC)


Gao GJ, Holcomb MC, Thomas JH and Blawzdziewicz J (2022), A Markov chain Monte Carlo model of mechanicalfeedback-driven progressive apical constrictions captures the fluctuating collective cell dynamics in the Drosophila embryo. Front. Phys. 10:971112. doi: 10.3389/fphy.2022.971112