Biological tubes are essential for animal survival, and their functions are critically dependent on tube shape. Analyzing the contributions of cell shape and organization to the morphogenesis of small tubes has been hampered by the limitations of existing programs in quantifying cell geometry on highly curved tubular surfaces and calculating tube-specific parameters. We therefore developed QuBiT (Quantitative Tool for Biological Tubes) and used it to analyze morphogenesis during embryonic Drosophila tracheal (airway) development. We find that there are previously unknown anterior-to-posterior (A-P) gradients of cell orientation and aspect ratio, and that there is periodicity in the organization of cells in the main tube. Furthermore, cell intercalation during development dampens an A-P gradient of the number of the number of cells per cross-section of the tube, but these intercalation events do not change the patterns of cell connectivity. These unexpected findings demonstrate the importance of a computational tool for analyzing the morphogenesis of small diameter biological tubes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)