Mechanics and Genetics of Embryonic and Tumor Development

Emmanuel Farge
Scientific keywords: beta-catenin, embryonic development, mechanotransduction, tumor development
Technics Used in the Lab: Magnetic control of embryonic morphogenetic movements and tumour growth pressure, in vivo, combined with genetics, imaging, and theoretical in silico simulations

Living tissues are highly active-reactive soft biological materials, which morphogenesis and homeostasis is being challenged by increasing evidences demonstrating the involvement of mechano-sensitive interplay between tissue shape-related strains and state of expression of the cells genome. Within this context, the mechanical activation of the nuclear translocation of the beta-catenin is a key element regulating the mechanical induction of embryonic developmental genes expression processes in response to morphogenetic movements (Drosophila) as well as deregulating adult tissues gene expression by induction of tumor development genes like twist and myc in response to mechanical solicitations mimicking tumor vascularisation pressure (mouse colon, see Figure). Today, the evaluation of the role of mechanotransduction physiopathological responses of living tissues to physiological pure mechanical strains remains to be evaluated in vivo. In collaboration with Sylvia Fre and Sylvie Robine (UMR144), we are upgrading our method of magnetic control of embryonic morphogenetic movements to apply strains on the months time scale inside adult animals, screening for oncogenic biochemical responses.


Compression of mouse colon tissue leads to the Myc (division) and Twist (invasivity) expression.
Compression of mouse colon tissue leads to the Myc (division) and Twist (invasivity) expression.