Drosophila neurons actively regulate axonal tension in vivo

Rajagopalan Jagannathan Rajagopalan, Tofangchi Alireza Tofangchi, M. Taher A. Saif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Several experiments have shown that mechanical forces significantly influence the initiation, growth, and retraction of neurites of cultured neurons. A similar role has long been suggested for mechanical forces in vivo, but this hypothesis has remained unverified due to the paucity of in vivo studies of neuronal mechanical behavior. In this study, we used high-resolution micromechanical force sensors to study the mechanical response of motor neurons in live Drosophila embryos. Our experiments showed that Drosophila neurons maintained a rest tension (1- 13 nN) and behaved like viscoelastic solids (i.e., with a linear force-deformation response followed by force relaxation to steady state) in response to sustained stretching. More importantly, when the tension was suddenly diminished by a release of the externally applied force, the neurons contracted and actively generated force to restore tension, sometimes to a value close to their rest tension. In addition, axons that were slackened by displacing the neuromuscular junction contracted and became taut in 10- 30 min. These observations are remarkably similar to results from in vitro studies and suggest that mechanical tension may also strongly influence neuronal behavior in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3208-3215
Number of pages8
JournalBiophysical journal
Volume99
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 17 2010

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Drosophila
Neurons
Neuromuscular Junction
Motor Neurons
Neurites
Axons
Embryonic Structures
Growth
In Vitro Techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics

Cite this

Drosophila neurons actively regulate axonal tension in vivo. / Jagannathan Rajagopalan, Rajagopalan; Alireza Tofangchi, Tofangchi; Saif, M. Taher A.

In: Biophysical journal, Vol. 99, No. 10, 17.11.2010, p. 3208-3215.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jagannathan Rajagopalan, R, Alireza Tofangchi, T & Saif, MTA 2010, 'Drosophila neurons actively regulate axonal tension in vivo', Biophysical journal, vol. 99, no. 10, pp. 3208-3215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2010.09.029
Jagannathan Rajagopalan, Rajagopalan ; Alireza Tofangchi, Tofangchi ; Saif, M. Taher A. / Drosophila neurons actively regulate axonal tension in vivo. In: Biophysical journal. 2010 ; Vol. 99, No. 10. pp. 3208-3215.
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