Mechanics of Fluid-Filled Interstitial Gaps. II. Gap Characteristics in Xenopus Embryonic Ectoderm
The ectoderm of the Xenopus embryo is permeated by a network of channels that appear in histological sections as interstitial gaps. We characterized this interstitial space by measuring gap sizes, angles formed between adjacent cells, and curvatures of cell surfaces at gaps. From these parameters, and from surface-tension values measured previously, we estimated the values of critical mechanical variables that determine gap sizes and shapes in the ectoderm, using a general model of interstitial gap mechanics. We concluded that gaps of 1–4 μm side length can be formed by the insertion of extracellular matrix fluid at three-cell junctions such that cell adhesion is locally disrupted and a tension difference between cell-cell contacts and the free cell surface at gaps of 0.003 mJ/m2 is generated. Furthermore, a cell hydrostatic pressure of 16.8 ± 1.7 Pa and an interstitial pressure of 3.9 ± 3.6 Pa, relative to the central blastocoel cavity of the embryo, was found to be consistent with the observed gap size and shape distribution. Reduction of cell adhesion by the knockdown of C-cadherin increased gap volume while leaving intracellular and interstitial pressures essentially unchanged. In both normal and adhesion-reduced ectoderm, cortical tension of the free cell surfaces at gaps does not return to the high values characteristic of the free surface of the whole tissue.
Publisher URL: http://www.cell.com/biophysj/fulltext/S0006-3495(17)30749-X
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