Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Morphogenetic degeneracies in the actomyosin cortex

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Josana Rodriguez SanchezORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


One of the great challenges in biology is to understand the mechanism by which morphogenetic processes arise from molecular activities. We investigated this problem in the context of actomyosin-based cortical flow in C. elegans zygotes, where large-scale flows emerge from the collective action of actomyosin filaments and actin binding proteins (ABPs). Large-scale16 flow dynamics can be captured by active gel theory by considering force balances and conservation laws in the actomyosin cortex. However, which molecular activities contribute to flow dynamics and18 large-scale physical properties such as viscosity and active torque is largely unknown. By performing a candidate RNAi screen of ABPs and actomyosin regulators we demonstrate that perturbing distinct molecular processes can lead to similar flow phenotypes. This is indicative for a ’morphogenetic degeneracy’ where multiple molecular processes contribute to the same large-scale physical property. We speculate that morphogenetic degeneracies contribute to the robustness of bulk biological matter in development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Naganathan SR, Furthauer S, Rodriguez J, Fievet BT, Julicher F, Ahringer J, Cannistraci CV, Grill SW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: eLife

Year: 2018

Volume: 7

Online publication date: 22/10/2018

Acceptance date: 16/10/2018

Date deposited: 25/10/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2050-084X

Publisher: eLife Sciences Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.7554/eLife.37677


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
European Research Council