How tissue shape emerges from the collective mechanical properties and behavior of individual cells is not understood. We combine experiment and theory to study this problem in the developing wing epithelium of Drosophila. At pupal stages, the wing-hinge contraction contributes to anisotropic tissue flows that reshape the wing blade. Here, we quantitatively account for this wing-blade shape change on the basis of cell divisions, cell rearrangements and cell shape changes. We show that cells both generate and respond to epithelial stresses during this process, and that the nature of this interplay specifies the pattern of junctional network remodeling that changes wing shape. We show that patterned constraints exerted on the tissue by the extracellular matrix are key to force the tissue into the right shape. We present a continuum mechanical model that quantitatively describes the relationship between epithelial stresses and cell dynamics, and how their interplay reshapes the wing.
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