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The Syncytial Drosophila Embryo as a Mechanically Excitable Medium

Figure 1

Observation of wavefronts and mechanical response.

a) Image of a Drosophila embryo during mitosis at the end of cycle 11, with the detected chromosomal contours overlaid. Anaphasic wavefronts (orange dashed curved lines), the long axis (green dashed straight line) and a typical slice perpendicular to the long axis (green parallel straight lines) are indicated. b) Sketch of the three main states in image analysis: interphase (circular contours), metaphase (compressed elliptical contours), and anaphase (highly extended elliptical contours, perpendicular to metaphase contour). See also Figure S1. c) Ratio of the two elliptical axes of the detected shape of the nuclear DNA/chromosomes vs. time in cycle 11, averaged over an -slice (as shown in a); error bars indicate variation within the slice. The transitions between interphase and metaphase, as well as the onset of anaphase, are sharp and indicated respectively by dotted (blue) and dashed (orange) vertical lines. The slice shown was taken at . d) Kymograph showing the elliptical axes ratio, (where white indicates values larger than 1 and black indicates values smaller than 1), as a function of position and time. The dotted and dashed lines indicate the onsets of metaphase and anaphase, as in Figure c. e) Average -displacement of the nuclei within one slice vs. time. After a nucleus has divided, we use the average position of its two daughters. The slice shown is identical to the one in Figure c. f) Kymograph showing the collective motion of nuclei in slices taken at different positions along the long axis of the embryo. White indicates motion in the positive direction, black in the negative direction. Dotted and dashed lines again indicate the onsets of metaphase and anaphase. Note that the displacements occur sometime after these onsets, but follow the same wavefront pattern.

Figure 1

doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0077216.g001