Annafrancesca Rigato,

Junctional buckling and actin remodeling: the impact of cytoskeleton mechanics on
epidermal morphogenesis

Team: Loïc LeGoff, (Fresnel Institute) - Alphée Michelot (IBDM)

Her background

October 2021 - present | CENTURI postdoctoral fellow

2017 - 2021 | Postdoctoral fellowship, Institut Fresnel - MOSAIC Team

2015 - 2016 | Postdoctoral researcher, BioAFM Lab, Inserm/Aix-Marseille University

2011 - 2015 | PhD, BioAFM Lab, Inserm/Aix-Marseille University

2011 - 2012 | Internship, LISM (Laboratoire d’ Ingénierie des Systèmes Macromoléculaires), Aix Marseille University

About her postdoctoral project

Adult Drosophila epidermis originates from precursors cells called histoblasts (HBs). These are organized in nests surrounded by larval epithelial cells (LECs). Both cell populations grow, but at different rates1. My work performed at Institut Fresnel has shown that faster growing LECs compress HBs. This causes three major changes: reduction of the apical area, volume redistribution below the epithelial monolayer and mechanical buckling of HBs’ junctions. Buckled junctions imply that histoblasts are not under tension anymore. I have studied junctional buckling as the consequence of tissue growth in a confined space, and I have demonstrated that the acto-myosin cytoskeleton must undergo major rearrangements2-5. I propose to further characterize actin reorganization when junctions buckle, its impact on cytoskeletal mechanics, and how this is linked to the morphological transition observed at the tissue scale. Complementary techniques will be combined such as in vivo imaging, genetics, and in vitro reconstitutions, in collaboration with the team of Alphée Michelot.