That is the conclusion of a new three-dimensional computer model of the cell sorting process produced by Shane Hutson, assistant professor of physics at Vanderbilt University, and his colleagues at the University of Waterloo in Canada that is described in the Oct. 3 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.
The force in question is surface tension – a property of liquids that arises from intermolecular forces – specifically an effect called the Plateau-Rayleigh Instability that explains the tendency of water to form droplets.
Mechanical interactions between cells play an important role in a number of biological processes, including the development of embryos and the spread of cancer. Understanding these interactions is particularly important in current efforts to create artificial tissues.
“In order to design and control the building of artificial tissues of any sort, we have to understand how cell/cell interactions drive shape and structure formation at a very deep level,” Hutson says.
Currently, these interactions are often modeled using analogs from fluid mechanics including viscosity and surface tension. “What we have shown is a fascinating new role for surface tension in the process of cell sorting – the ability of random mixtures of two cell types to spontaneously sort themselves into two distinct domains,” Hutson says.
Previous 2-D and 3-D models of cell sorting had indicated that surface tension alone was not powerful enough to drive this “unmixing” process by itself, leading researchers to propose that the cells themselves must also change shape randomly to keep the process from grinding to a halt before it is completed.
The new computer model looked at the structure of the 3-D mixtures in greater detail. It showed that in mixtures where the minority cell type makes up at least 25 percent of the mix, more than 95 percent of the minority cells are in direct contact with other minority cells instead of being totally surrounded by majority cells and found that this contact enhances the surface tension effect, allowing it to drive the sorting process without assistance from cell fluctuations.
Hutson’s collaborators from the University of Waterloo are G. Wayne Brodland, Justina Yang and Denis Viens. The work was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the National Science Foundation and the Human Frontier Science Program.
David F. Salisbury | Newswise Science News
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences