Relating cell shape and mechanical stress in a spatially disordered epithelium using a vertex-based model

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Using a popular vertex-based model to describe a spatially disordered planar epithelial monolayer, we examine the relationship between cell shape and mechanical stress at the cell and tissue level. Deriving expressions for stress tensors starting from an energetic formulation of the model, we show that the
principal axes of stress for an individual cell align with the principal axes of shape, and we determine the bulk effective tissue pressure when the monolayer is isotropic at the tissue level. Using simulations for a monolayer that is not under peripheral stress, we fit parameters of the model to experimental data
for Xenopus embryonic tissue. The model predicts that mechanical interactions can generate mesoscopic patterns within the monolayer that exhibit long-range correlations in cell shape. The model also suggests that the orientation of mechanical and geometric cues for processes such as cell division are likely to be strongly correlated in real epithelia. Some limitations of the model in capturing geometric features of Xenopus epithelial cells are highlighted.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)i1-i27
Number of pages27
JournalMathematical Medicine and Biology
Issue numbersuppl_1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2017

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