Crick Institute, UK

How to build a functional organ - lessons from the heart

How a simple tissue primordium gets moulded into 3D functional organs is a fundamental problem in developmental biology. A critical step during vertebrate heart development is trabeculation, during which the myocardial epithelium transforms from a monolayer to an intricate 3D trabecular meshwork. We have recently shown that differential mechanics triggers trabecular seeding. A subset of cells with higher contractility delaminate stochastically to seed the trabecular layer (PMID: 33208950). But how these individual cells build a multicellular meshwork suited for heart function remains unknown. Combining 4D live imaging, controlled perturbations and morphometrics, we now report that multiscale coupling between local cellular deformation and global organ function constrains trabeculae organization in zebrafish. In this seminar, I will be discussing some of our recent findings, and we hope that our study will address how robust architecture and function of organs emerge during embryogenesis