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Size control of the inner ear via hydraulic feedback

Mosaliganti KR, Swinburne IA, Chan CU, Obholzer ND, Green AA, Tanksale S, Mahadevan L, Megason SG
Elife. 2019 Oct 1;8. pii: e39596. doi: 10.7554/eLife.39596
Animals make organs of precise size, shape, and symmetry but how developing embryos do this is largely unknown. Here, we combine quantitative imaging, physical theory, and physiological measurement of hydrostatic pressure and fluid transport in zebrafish to study size control of the developing inner ear. We find that fluid accumulation creates hydrostatic pressure in the lumen leading to stress in the epithelium and expansion of the otic vesicle. Pressure, in turn, inhibits fluid transport into the lumen. This negative feedback loop between pressure and transport allows the otic vesicle to change growth rate to control natural or experimentally-induced size variation. Spatiotemporal patterning of contractility modulates pressure-driven strain for regional tissue thinning. Our work connects molecular-driven mechanisms, such as osmotic pressure driven strain and actomyosin tension, to the regulation of tissue morphogenesis via hydraulic feedback to ensure robust control of organ size.
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