Skip to main content

Zones of cellular damage around pulsed-laser wounds


O'Connor James , Akbar Fabiha Bushra , Hudson M. Shane , Page-McCaw Andrea . PLoS One. 2021 9 27; ().


After a tissue is wounded, cells surrounding the wound adopt distinct wound-healing behaviors to repair the tissue. Considerable effort has been spent on understanding the signaling pathways that regulate immune and tissue-resident cells as they respond to wounds, but these signals must ultimately originate from the physical damage inflicted by the wound. Tissue wounds comprise several types of cellular damage, and recent work indicates that different types of cellular damage initiate different types of signaling. Hence to understand wound signaling, it is important to identify and localize the types of wound-induced cellular damage. Laser ablation is widely used by researchers to create reproducible, aseptic wounds in a tissue that can be live-imaged. Because laser wounding involves a combination of photochemical, photothermal and photomechanical mechanisms, each with distinct spatial dependencies, cells around a pulsed-laser wound will experience a gradient of damage. Here we exploit this gradient to create a map of wound-induced cellular damage. Using genetically-encoded fluorescent proteins, we monitor damaged cellular and sub-cellular components of epithelial cells in living Drosophila pupae in the seconds to minutes following wounding. We hypothesized that the regions of damage would be predictably arrayed around wounds of varying sizes, and subsequent analysis found that all damage radii are linearly related over a 3-fold range of wound size. Thus, around laser wounds, the distinct regions of damage can be estimated after measuring any one. This report identifies several different types of cellular damage within a wounded epithelial tissue in a living animal. By quantitatively mapping the size and placement of these different types of damage, we set the foundation for tracing wound-induced signaling back to the damage that initiates it.