Pulling together: Tissue-generated forces that drive lumen morphogenesis.
Mechanical interactions are essential for bending and shaping tissues during morphogenesis. A common feature of nearly all internal organs is the formation of a tubular network consisting of an epithelium that surrounds a central lumen. Lumen formation during organogenesis requires precisely coordinated mechanical and biochemical interactions. Whereas many genetic regulators of lumen formation have been identified, relatively little is known about the mechanical cues that drive lumen morphogenesis. Lumens can be shaped by a variety of physical behaviors including wrapping a sheet of cells around a hollow core, rearranging cells to expose a lumenal cavity, or elongating a tube via cell migration, though many of the details underlying these movements remain poorly understood. It is essential to define how forces generated by individual cells cooperate to produce the tissue-level forces that drive organogenesis. Transduction of mechanical forces relies on several conserved processes including the contraction of cytoskeletal networks or expansion of lumens through increased fluid pressure. The morphogenetic events that drive lumen formation serve as a model for similar mechanical processes occurring throughout development. To understand how lumenal networks arise, it will be essential to investigate how biochemical and mechanical processes integrate to generate complex structures from comparatively simple interactions.