Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Epithelial cells adopt a new geometric shape so that tissue can curve

27.07.2018

Researchers from the Department of Cellular Biology at the University of Seville and Seville Institute of Biomedicine (IBiS) have shown that epithelial cells, which are those that cover the surfaces of many organs, adopt a new, previously undescribed geometric shape, the scutoid, so that tissue can curve. This finding, which has just been published in the review Nature Communications, allows organ to acquire very complex yet very stable shapes. The experts state that these new and beautiful shapes, scutoids, are the solution that nature has found to fold and curve the epithelia.

"The epithelial cells are the "construction blocks" with which an organism is formed. They are like 'pieces of Tente or Lego from which animals are made'. The epithelia form structures with multiple functions like forming a barrier against infections or absorbing nutrients.


These are scutoids.

Credit: University of Seville


These are scutoids.

Credit: University of Seville

In this way, during the development of an embryo, it changes from a simple structure formed from only a handful of cells to an animal with very complex organs. This process doesn't only occur because of the growth of the organism, but also because the epithelial cells start 'moving and joining together' to organise themselves correctly and give the organs their final shape", explains the University of Seville Biology faculty teacher Luisma Escudero.

Until now, these "blocks" were represented as being prism-shaped or being like truncated pyramids. However, upon examining epithelial curves in laboratory samples, the researchers found evidence that these real cells adopt other more complex shapes. "This is due to the fact that when tissue curves it tends to minimise energy, to be more stable, and for that reason our biophysical data indicates that what these cells do is adopt an scutoid shape", adds the researcher.

An scutoid is a solid geometric shape, like a cube or a pyramid, which had not been described until now. The epithelial cells adopt this form when the tissue curves, giving it a more stable structure. It could be said that they look like 'twisted prisms'.

From basic research to applied science

This discovery is included within basic science, at the interface between biology, mathematics and physics. However, this type of research is necessary for biomedicine. Specifically, this study opens the door to understanding how organs are formed during their development and what might be missing in some diseases in which this process is altered.

This research has been led by the Department of Cellular Biology at the Biology Faculty of the University of Seville and the Seville Institute of Biomedicine (IBiS), and the laboratory of Dr Javier Buceta from Lehigh University (USA). In addition, it benefitted from the collaboration of Alberto Márquez and Clara Grima of the 'Discrete Mathematics Research Group: Graph Theory and Computational Geometry" at the University of Seville, and experts from the Centro Andaluz de Biología del Desarrollo (Andalusian Centre for Developmental Biology).

Regarding the next step, the authors of the project state that they want "to find the molecules that cause the cells to adopt the escutoide shape. So, in the medium term, we will be able to begin to try to apply this knowledge to the creation of artificial tissue and organs in the laboratory, a great challenge for biology and biomedicine".

Media Contact

Luis Maria Escudero
lmescudero_ibis@us.es
34-655-772-838

 @unisevilla

http://www.us.es 

Luis Maria Escudero | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>