Honorable prize 2022: Dr. Arthur Boutillon
→ Prize 300 €
The honorable prize for the 2022 SFBD Thesis Prize has been awarded Dr. Arthur Boutillon (laboratory for Optics and Biosciences, École Polytechnique, Paris, director Dr. Nicolas David) for his thesis entitled “Tissue coordination and collective cell migration in axial mesoderm during Zebrafish gastrulation”. His work was published in Developmental Cell.
The work of the winner:
During his thesis, Arthur Boutillon studied the anterior extension of the axial mesoderm, a process occurring during vertebrate gastrulation. The axial mesoderm is a structure composed of mesodermal cells which undergo collective migration. In zebrafish, this migration is guided by a particular group of cells dubbed the polster. Arthur used the polster, and its interaction with the posterior axial mesoderm, to study how cellular movements are coordinated during collective migration. To this aim, he used a combination of laser ablations, cell transplantations and functional genetics as well as numerical simulations.
This work established that the directional information guiding polster cells is provided by the anteriorward migration of the following cells. Polster cells detect, through cell-cell contact, a mechanical signal applied by migrating follower cells via the E-Cadherin/a -Catenin/Vinculin mechanotransduction pathway. Arthur showed that such a phenomenon of “guidance by followers” allows long-range coordination of cell movements without the need for external chemoattraction. Arthur Boutillon’s thesis work contributes to better understand how gastrulation movements are coordinated in vertebrates and identifies a new mechanism by which collective cell migration is achieved.
The jury decided to reward the relevance of Arthur’s doctoral work, as well as the exceptional quality of his thesis manuscript, with an accessit prize.