EPH/EPHRIN signaling is essential to many aspects of tissue self-organization and morphogenesis, but little is known about how EPH/EPHRIN signaling regulates cell mechanics during these processes. Here, we use a series of approaches to examine how EPH/EPHRIN signaling drives cellular self-organization. Contact angle measurements reveal that EPH/EPHRIN signaling decreases the stability of heterotypic cell:cell contacts through increased cortical actomyosin contractility. We find that EPH/EPHRIN-driven cell segregation depends on actomyosin contractility but occurs independently of directed cell migration and without changes in cell adhesion. Atomic force microscopy and live cell imaging of myosin localization support that EPH/EPHRIN signaling results in increased cortical tension. Interestingly, actomyosin contractility also nonautonomously drives increased EPHB2:EPHB2 homotypic contacts. Finally, we demonstrate that changes in tissue organization are driven by minimization of heterotypic contacts through actomyosin contractility in cell aggregates and by mouse genetics experiments. These data elucidate the biomechanical mechanisms driving EPH/EPHRIN-based cell segregation wherein differences in interfacial tension, regulated by actomyosin contractility, govern cellular self-organization.
EPH/EPHRIN regulates cellular organization by actomyosin contractility effects on cell contacts
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Abigail A. Kindberg, Vasudha Srivastava, Jonathon M. Muncie, Valerie M. Weaver, Zev J. Gartner, Jeffrey O. Bush; EPH/EPHRIN regulates cellular organization by actomyosin contractility effects on cell contacts. J Cell Biol 7 June 2021; 220 (6): e202005216. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.202005216
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