Jo’s paper on cell activities underlying joint growth and shape published in Journal of Anatomy

Jo‘s first first-author paper entitled “Growth orientations, rather than heterogeneous growth rates, dominate jaw joint morphogenesis in the larval zebrafish” was published in the Journal of Anatomy. Read the paper online here (open access).

In this research, a collaboration with Dr Chrissy Hammond (Bristol, UK), we tackle a long running question: what cell activities determine embryonic joint growth & shape?

We tracked individual cells in 3D in the larval zebrafish jaw joint over a 48-hour window. Using changes between cell centroids, we constructed growth maps of rate and direction of local tissue deformations

Growth maps varied substantially in growth orientation and growth rates both spatially at each developmental time point, and over the duration of development studied.

We synthesised the growth rates in a finite element analysis simulation, which was able to accurately predict joint morphogenesis. What this means is that cell positional information (i.e., orientation and volume) over time is enough to approximate growth and shape change. Then, we were able to use the simulation to test the importance of growth orientation, versus heterogeneous growth rates. We found that growth orientation was much more important for shape than growth rate heterogeneity.

Thank-you to the Anatomical Society for funding Jo’s PhD and congratulations Jo and all the team on a lovely study and paper!