On shape forming by contractile filaments in the surface of growing tissues

Peter Fratzl, Franz-Dieter Fischer, Gerald Zickler, John W. C. Dunlop

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelForschungBegutachtung


Growing tissues are highly dynamic, and flow on sufficiently long timescales due to cell proliferation, migration, and tissue remodeling. As a consequence, growing tissues can often be approximated as viscous fluids. This means that the shape of microtissues growing in vitro is governed by their surface stress state, as in fluid droplets. Recent work showed that cells in the near-surface region of fibroblastic or osteoblastic microtissues contract with highly oriented actin filaments, thus making the surface properties highly anisotropic, in contrast to what is expected for an isotropic fluid. Here, we develop a model that includes mechanical anisotropy of the surface generated by contractile fibers and we show that mechanical equilibrium requires contractile filaments to follow geodesic lines on the surface. Constant pressure in the fluid forces these contractile filaments to be along geodesics with a constant normal curvature. We then take this into account to determine equilibrium shapes of rotationally symmetric bodies subjected to anisotropic surface stress states and derive a family of surfaces of revolution. A comparison with recently published shapes of microtissues shows that this theory accurately predicts both the surface shape and the direction of the actin filaments on the surface.
FachzeitschriftPNAS Nexus
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 12 Dez. 2022

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