Magic embryology: embryo cells push and pull others (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Monday, April 12, 2021, 19:43 (905 days ago) @ David Turell

Much physical force is involved as tissues develop:

"Indeed, he explained, embryonic cellular tissue is a "weird material," with each cell consuming chemical energy and using it to apply forces to its neighbors and coordinate their actions. In-vitro studies with cells in synthetic dishes provide only part of the picture, he added; by studying cells in their native environment, the living embryo, they could find out how cells control their collective state and the phase transitions that emerge from their symphony of pushes and pulls.


"Embryonic tissue, according to the researchers, behaves physically somewhat like an aqueous foam, a system composed of individual pockets of air clumped together in a liquid. Think soap suds or beer froth.

"'In the case of foam, its structure and dynamics are governed by surface tension," Kim said. Analogous forces are found where cells come into contact with each other in embryonic tissue, on both the inner faces of the cell membranes and between cells.

"'Effective forces acting on cell-to-cell junctions are governed by cortical tension and cell-to-cell adhesion," Kim said, "so the net force at the cell-to-cell contacts can be modeled as an effective surface tension."

"However, unlike the more static forces between cells in typical foams, the forces between cells in embryonic tissue are dynamic.

"'Cells in tissues do not generate static forces, but rather display dynamic pushing and pulling over time," Campàs explained. "And we find that it is actually these tension fluctuations that effectively 'melt' the tissue into a fluid state." It is this fluidity of the tissue that allows cells to reorganize and shape the tissues, he explained.


"Their finding that tension fluctuations are responsible for the fluidity of tissue during development stands in contrast to the generally accepted notion that changes in adhesion between cells is the critical factor that controlled the fluidity of the tissue—if the adhesion between cells reached a certain high threshold, the tissue would become fluid.

"'But since cell forces and tensions fluctuate in embryos, it could be that these played an important role in tissue fluidization," Campàs said. "So when we ran the simulations and did the experiments, we realized that actually the jiggling was way more important for the fluidization than the adhesion." The fluid state of the tissue is the result of the dynamics of forces, rather than changes in static cell tension or adhesion."

Comment: Obviously as cells grow there will be pushing and pulling that is part of the new development of the tissue. teh cells follow instructions that take into account the eventual shapes to be formed.

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