Cells collectively self-organizing into 3D structures can produce emergent physical properties such as fluid behaviour. Researchers in France, Austria and Germany have now shown that tissues growing on curved surfaces develop shapes with outer boundaries of constant mean curvature, similar to the energy minimizing forms of liquids wetting a surface. The amount of tissue formed depends on the shape of the substrate, with more tissue being deposited on highly concave surfaces, indicating a mechano-biological feedback mechanism.
The team also found that active cellular forces are essential for generating sufficient surface stresses for the liquid-like behaviour and growth of the tissue. The findings, reported in Science Advances, suggest that the mechanical signalling between cells and their physical environment, along with the continuous reorganization of cells and matrix is a key principle for the emergence of tissue shape.
The French members of the team are from the Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique (LIPhy).
Read the research paper: Surface tension determines tissue shape and growth kinetics. S. Ehrig et al. Science Advances 10.1126/sciadv.aav9394
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