Mechanical forces and cardiogenesis

Julien Vermot
Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology
Imperial College of London

Cells act as force sensors and can actively trigger physical changes during embryonic patterning and growth. Defects in these processes can cause catastrophic developmental abnormalities, in particular in the cardiovascular system where blood flow is generating mechanical forces essential for cardiogenesis. Our goal is to understand the dynamics and the roles of biological flow during the development of the zebrafish. We use live imaging techniques, cell biology and genetic analysis to characterize the physical stimuli and the molecular mechanisms that specify cell responses to flow forces during embryogenesis. We will discuss our recent results assessing flow forces affect cardiovascular morphogenesis.