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How cell forces shape tissue dynamics: from experiments to models

Presented by: 
Ulrich Schwarz Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Friday 18th September 2015 - 09:00 to 10:00
INI Seminar Room 1
Co-authors: Carina Dunlop (University of Surrey), Christoph Koke (Heidelberg University), Takuma Kanesaki (Göttingen University), Jörg Grosshans (Göttingen University), Philipp Albert (Heidelberg University)

In this contribution we will use two different biological model systems to illustrate how experimental observations can be integrated in appropriate mathematical models that describe tissue dynamics as they emerge from the cytoskeletal forces generated by single cells. Our first example is the syncytium of Drosophila melanogaster, which is shared by up to 6.000 nuclei that before cellularization divide four times in a thin layer without forming cell walls. Using confocal microscopy, quantitative image processing, tracking of single nuclei and evaluation of an appropriate measure for order, we have shown that each division constitutes a significant disordering of the nuclear array that is restored within a few minutes by the syncytial cytoskeleton. Interestingly, between divisions actin caps act as spacers while microtubules impart some attractive interactions. We have implemented these cytoskeletal elements in an individual-based computer simulation that predict under which conditions a stable ordering process will occur. Our second example is the dynamics of cell monolayers on flat substrates, an important model for wound healing. We investigate this situation with a cellular Potts model extending our earlier work on single cells. While cell-cell adhesion together with actomyosin contractility ensures the cohesion of this system, cell-matrix adhesion together with actin-based protrusion makes the cell monolayer highly dynamic. We have implemented observation-based rules for cell mechanics, adhesion, divison and movement in a computationally very efficient simulation framework. Our model describes a large range of experimental data, including the dynamics and shapes of cell monolayers on micropatterned adhesive substrates.

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