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Issue 27, 2018
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Hydrodynamics of shape-driven rigidity transitions in motile tissues

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In biological tissues, it is now well-understood that mechanical cues are a powerful mechanism for pattern regulation. While much work has focused on interactions between cells and external substrates, recent experiments suggest that cell polarization and motility might be governed by the internal shear stiffness of nearby tissue, deemed “plithotaxis”. Meanwhile, other work has demonstrated that there is a direct relationship between cell shapes and tissue shear modulus in confluent tissues. Joining these two ideas, we develop a hydrodynamic model that couples cell shape, and therefore tissue stiffness, to cell motility and polarization. Using linear stability analysis and numerical simulations, we find that tissue behavior can be tuned between largely homogeneous states and patterned states such as asters, controlled by a composite “morphotaxis” parameter that encapsulates the nature of the coupling between shape and polarization. The control parameter is in principle experimentally accessible, and depends both on whether a cell tends to move in the direction of lower or higher shear modulus, and whether sinks or sources of polarization tend to fluidize the system.

Graphical abstract: Hydrodynamics of shape-driven rigidity transitions in motile tissues

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Article information

04 Mar 2018
11 Jun 2018
First published
14 Jun 2018

Soft Matter, 2018,14, 5628-5642
Article type
Author version available

Hydrodynamics of shape-driven rigidity transitions in motile tissues

M. Czajkowski, D. Bi, M. L. Manning and M. C. Marchetti, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 5628
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00446C

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