Actomyosin fibers form the cell’s supportive skeleton, movement machinery and sensors for the cells’ surroundings. The contractions of these fibers might also act as a form of mechanical signalling between cells. We want to understand, if actomyosin contractions affect the cell maturation of basal cells in the airway tissue.
When tissues form, cells are constantly in mechanical contact with each other, which can also activate their genetic programs. Understanding actomyosin contractility could help us understand, how the mechanical signals are formed and how they affect the maturation of basal cells. This benefits our understanding of how the bottommost layer of airways are formed.
We are only in the beginnings of establishing this project, and the movie I have taken is one of the first movies showing the contractility in our model system. In Sedzinski lab, we study multiple aspects of the airway epithelium by using pieces of frog tissue, and in general, have uncovered many mechanical regulators of forming a functional airway epithelium.
The image shows flares, bundles and ruffles of actin (orange) and myosin (yellow) fibers in basal cells of Xenopus (frog) tissue.
Mari Tolonen, Sedzinski Lab, reNEW Copenhagen Node