Tensegrity as a main determinant of tissue morphogenesis

A problem presented at the VPH NoE SG Nottingham 2009.

Presented by:
Prof Helen Byrne (School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham)
Dr Kurt Saetzler (University of Ulster)
Prof Carlos Sonnenschein (Department of Anatomy & Cellular Biology School of Medicine, Tufts University)
Prof Ana Soto (School of Medicine, Tufts University)
H Byrne, IL Chernyavsky, RJ Dyson, JEF Green, M Hammadich al-Mohamed, GW Jones, JR King, S Prokopiou, K Saetzler, R Smallwood, C Sonnenschein, AM Soto

Problem Description

Mechanical forces are well-known to play a key role in shaping organs such as bone. However, the precise roles of different types of mechanical stimuli on the morphogenesis of soft tissues remain to be explained fully. The recent development of 3D culture models that recapitulate the structure of glandular epithelial structures and their surrounding stroma has created an opportunity to observe how the tissue is formed (the shape, topology and movement of the emerging structures) and to measure the physical forces acting globally and locally. Our overarching aim is to identify the physico-chemical mechanisms that regulate the shape of the evolving epithelial structures. We will achieve this goal by considering the following questions:

  1. What properties of the stroma increase the appearance of spherical structures rather than cylindrical ones (and vice versa)?
  2. What factors regulate branching of the epithelial mass?

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Study Group Report

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