Erez Braun (Technion) |  Control of animal morphogenesis by external electric fields |


The current picture of animal morphogenesis- the emergence of form and function in a developing animal, relies on biochemical patterning and its robustness is typically attributed to the presence of a well-defined hierarchy of forward-driven processes, such as threshold-crossing cellular processes and the development of symmetry-breaking fields. Is it possible to modulate the course of animal morphogenesis and direct its developmental trajectory on demand? We demonstrate that an external electric field can be tuned to drive morphogenesis in Hydra regeneration, backward and forward, around a critical point in a controlled manner. A controlled drive of morphogenesis allows multiple re-initiation of novel developmental trajectories for the same tissue. We further show that calcium spatial fluctuations drive the morphological dynamics. The normalized calcium spatial fluctuations exhibit a universal non-Gaussian shape distribution, across tissue samples and conditions, suggesting a global constraint over these fluctuations. Studying the dynamics at the onset of morphogenesis opens a new vista on this process and paints a picture of development analogous to a dynamical phase transition.



When: January 5, 2022 02:00 PM (Israel Standard Time).

Where: over Zoom