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A hydraulic instability drives the cell death decision in the nematode germline.

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Pfanzelter,  Julia
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Fürthauer,  Sebastian
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Fritsch,  Anatol W
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Amini,  Rana
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Kreysing,  Moritz
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Jülicher,  Frank
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Grill,  Stephan W.
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Chartier, N. T., Mukherjee, A., Pfanzelter, J., Fürthauer, S., Larson, B. T., Fritsch, A. W., et al. (2021). A hydraulic instability drives the cell death decision in the nematode germline. Nature Physics, 10.1038/s41567-021-01235-x. doi:10.1038/s41567-021-01235-x.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-DA76-E
Abstract
Oocytes are large cells that develop into an embryo upon fertilization1. As interconnected germ cells mature into oocytes, some of them grow—typically at the expense of others that undergo cell death2,3,4. We present evidence that in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, this cell-fate decision is mechanical and related to tissue hydraulics. An analysis of germ cell volumes and material fluxes identifies a hydraulic instability that amplifies volume differences and causes some germ cells to grow and others to shrink, a phenomenon that is related to the two-balloon instability5. Shrinking germ cells are extruded and they die, as we demonstrate by artificially reducing germ cell volumes via thermoviscous pumping6. Our work reveals a hydraulic symmetry-breaking transition central to the decision between life and death in the nematode germline.