"We have identified the mechanism by which the cytokinetic contractile ring senses tissue mechanics in C. elegans, and found that anillin is key in tuning this mechanosensitivity"
Christina Rou Hsu, Gaganpreet Sangha, Wayne Fan, Joey Zheng, Kenji Sugioka. 2023. Contractile ring mechanosensation and its anillin-dependent tuning during early embryogenesis. bioRxiv
The contractile ring plays crucial roles in animal morphogenesis. Previous studies have explored how tissue mechanics controls the contractile ring; however, the mechanisms by which the ring senses tissue mechanics remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate the mechanism of contractile ring mechanosensation and its tuning during asymmetric ring closure of Caenorhabditis elegans embryos. High-resolution imaging of cortical flow revealed that local suppression of the ring-directed cortical flow is associated with a delay in furrowing. This suppression of cortical flow results from cortical compression. We found that the artificial inhibition of ring-directed cortical flow was sufficient to induce asymmetric ring closure in symmetrically dividing cells. Moreover, genetic analysis suggests that the positive feedback loop among ring-directed cortical flow, myosin enrichment, and ring constriction constitutes the anillin-dependent, mechanosensitive engine driving asymmetric ring closure. Our results suggest that the balance between RhoA-dependent and cortical flow-dependent myosin enrichment fine-tunes the ring mechanosensitivity in tissues.