Unified quantitative characterization of epithelial tissue development
Understanding the mechanisms regulating development requires a quantitative characterization of cell divisions, rearrangements, cell size and shape changes, and apoptoses. We developed a multiscale formalism that relates the characterizations of each cell process to tissue growth and morphogenesis. Having validated the formalism on computer simulations, we quantified separately all morphogenetic events in the Drosophila dorsal thorax and wing pupal epithelia to obtain comprehensive statistical maps linking cell and tissue scale dynamics. While globally cell shape changes, rearrangements and divisions all significantly participate in tissue morphogenesis, locally, their relative participations display major variations in space and time. By blocking division we analyzed the impact of division on rearrangements, cell shape changes and tissue morphogenesis. Finally, by combining the formalism with mechanical stress measurement, we evidenced unexpected interplays between patterns of tissue elongation, cell division and stress. Our formalism provides a novel and rigorous approach to uncover mechanisms governing tissue development.