Distinct contributions of tensile and shear stress on E-cadherin levels during morphogenesis

Girish R. Kale, Xingbo Yang, Jean Marc Philippe, Madhav Mani, Pierre François Lenne*, Thomas Lecuit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


During epithelial morphogenesis, cell contacts (junctions) are constantly remodeled by mechanical forces that work against adhesive forces. E-cadherin complexes play a pivotal role in this process by providing persistent cell adhesion and by transmitting mechanical tension. In this context, it is unclear how mechanical forces affect E-cadherin adhesion and junction dynamics. During Drosophila embryo axis elongation, Myosin-II activity in the apico-medial and junctional cortex generates mechanical forces to drive junction remodeling. Here we report that the ratio between Vinculin and E-cadherin intensities acts as a ratiometric readout for these mechanical forces (load) at E-cadherin complexes. Medial Myosin-II loads E-cadherin complexes on all junctions, exerts tensile forces, and increases levels of E-cadherin. Junctional Myosin-II, on the other hand, biases the distribution of load between junctions of the same cell, exerts shear forces, and decreases the levels of E-cadherin. This work suggests distinct effects of tensile versus shear stresses on E-cadherin adhesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5021
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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