Mechanical Regulation of Tissue Growth and Shape Formation

Melda Tozluoglu (University College London)

University Place 4.205,

Understanding the regulation of tissue growth is of significant clinical interest, and can shed light on processes ranging from tissue regeneration to inhibition of uncontrolled growth in cancer. Among the main factors that determine tissue growth and shape are cell divisions and collective force generation. Yet, these phenomena are not independent from each other. Heterogeneities in growth lead to accumulation of forces, while mechanical forces can influence cell growth, as well as the active forces generated by individual cells. Although the roles of biochemical regulatory mechanisms of tissue growth and shape have been key subjects of research, our understanding of the roles for mechanical properties of tissues is still limited. This imbalance stems from the difficulties in investigating mechanical roles of proteins, such as in generating tension, independently from their biochemical functions in experiments.

We utilise a computational approach to answer how the interplay between the growth rates, physical properties, and shape dynamics of cells lead to the final tissue architecture. The model system we use is the wing imaginal discof Drosophila Melanogaster. Starting from heterogeneities in growth and physical properties, we try to identify the minimum set of requirements that drives the three-dimensional folded structure of the wing disc. We investigate the affects of forces accumulating within the tissue due to growth on the progress of shape formation. We link the passively accumulating tension/compression profiles to active force generation within the tissue.

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