Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bioengineers Fill Holes in Cellular Self-Organization

08.10.2008
The chemical and biological aspects of cellular self-organization are well-studied; less well understood is how cell populations order themselves biomechanically – how their behavior and communication are affected by high density and physical proximity.

Bioengineers and physicists at the University of California San Diego, in a paper published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have begun to address these fundamental questions.

The UC San Diego scientists focused their research on dense colonies of the rod-shaped bacteria Escherichia coli. By analyzing the spatial organization of the bacteria in a microfluidic chemostat – a kind of mini-circuit board for liquids rather than electrons – they found that growth and expansion of a dense colony of cells leads to a dynamic change from relative disorder to a remarkable re-orientation and alignment of the rod-like cells.

That finding, described in their paper “Biomechanical Ordering of Dense Cell Populations,” allowed them to develop a model of collective cell dynamics, and to use this model to “elucidate the mechanism of cell ordering, and quantify the relationship between the dynamics of cell proliferation and the spatial structure of the population.”

One of the authors, Lev S. Tsimring, at UC San Diego’s Institute of Nonlinear Science, explained the bioengineers’ use of bacteria to study the biomechanical ordering of cells.

“When environmental conditions are harsh, bacteria like to stick together. The most typical form of bacterial organization in nature is a biofilm: a dense quasi-two-dimensional colony of bacteria. Biofilms grow in and on living tissues, the surfaces of rocks and soils, and in aquatic environments,” he said, “but they’re also found in man-made systems and devices such as industrial piping and artificial implants. And bacteria are known to actively migrate toward surfaces and small cavities, where they form high-density colonies.”

At low densities, he said, bacteria and other cells communicate “remotely” by sending chemical signals – “chemotaxis” – but, as they aggregate and form dense communities, direct biomechanical contacts play a bigger and bigger role in how they organize themselves.

“Although previous studies have explored the complex signaling mechanisms in the early stages of biofilm formation,” Tsimring said, “the biomechanics of direct cellular contacts have received little attention. We focused, therefore, on the structure and dynamics of a growing two-dimensional colony of non-motile bacteria.”

His fellow researcher, Jeff Hasty, at the Institute for Nonlinear Science and UC San Diego’s Department of Bioengineering, said the team’s work provides a multiscale description of cell colony growth.

“Our results reveal how cell growth and colony expansion trigger the formation of the orientational order in the population,” Hasty said, “which, in turn, affects the mechanical and biochemical properties of the colony.”

The details of their research, the authors say, helps scientists understand how the local interaction of elementary components leads to collective behavior and the formation of a highly organized system.

Tsimring and Hasty collaborated with Scott Cookson, of the Department of Bioengineering, and Dmitri Volfson, now at Rosetta Inpharmatics LLC.

Funding for the research was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and UC MEXUS-CONACYT.

Paul K. Mueller | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>