Scientific article
Open access

Epithelial colonies in vitro elongate through collective effects

Published ineLife, vol. 10, e57730
Publication date2021-01-04
First online date2021-01-04

Epithelial tissues of the developing embryos elongate by different mechanisms, such as neighbor exchange, cell elongation, and oriented cell division. Since autonomous tissue self-organization is influenced by external cues such as morphogen gradients or neighboring tissues, it is difficult to distinguish intrinsic from directed tissue behavior. The mesoscopic processes leading to the different mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we study the spontaneous elongation behavior of spreading circular epithelial colonies in vitro. By quantifying deformation kinematics at multiple scales, we report that global elongation happens primarily due to cell elongations, and its direction correlates with the anisotropy of the average cell elongation. By imposing an external time-periodic stretch, the axis of this global symmetry breaking can be modified and elongation occurs primarily due to orientated neighbor exchange. These different behaviors are confirmed using a vertex model for collective cell behavior, providing a framework for understanding autonomous tissue elongation and its origins.

  • Physics of living systems
  • Symmetry breaking
  • Tissue elongation
  • Vertex model
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
  • Wellcome Trust - Theoretical Physics of Biology Laboratory [FC001317]
  • Cancer Research UK - [21144]
  • Agence Nationale de la Recherche - [ANR-10-IDEX-0002-02]
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - [ANR-10-LABX-0030-INRT]
  • ciFRC Strasbourg -
  • Industrial Research and Consultancy Centre - [IRCC Awards, IIT Bombay]
  • Department of Biotechnology , Ministry of Science and Technology - [BT/06/IYBA/2012]
  • University of Strasbourg -
  • The Francis Crick Institute - [10317]
  • ISIS -
Citation (ISO format)
COMELLES, Jordi et al. Epithelial colonies in vitro elongate through collective effects. In: eLife, 2021, vol. 10, p. e57730. doi: 10.7554/eLife.57730
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2050-084X

Technical informations

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