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Long-range mechanical force enables self-assembly of epithelial tubular patterns

Guo, Chin-Lin and Ouyang, Mingxing and Yu, Jiun-Yann and Maslov, Jordan and Price, Andrew and Shen, Chih-Yu (2012) Long-range mechanical force enables self-assembly of epithelial tubular patterns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 (15). pp. 5576-5582. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC3326479.

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Enabling long-range transport of molecules, tubules are critical for human body homeostasis. One fundamental question in tubule formation is how individual cells coordinate their positioning over long spatial scales, which can be as long as the sizes of tubular organs. Recent studies indicate that type I collagen (COL) is important in the development of epithelial tubules. Nevertheless, how cell–COL interactions contribute to the initiation or the maintenance of long-scale tubular patterns is unclear. Using a two-step process to quantitatively control cell–COL interaction, we show that epithelial cells developed various patterns in response to fine-tuned percentages of COL in ECM. In contrast with conventional thoughts, these patterns were initiated and maintained by traction forces created by cells but not diffusive factors secreted by cells. In particular, COL-dependent transmission of force in the ECM led to long-scale (up to 600 μm) interactions between cells. A mechanical feedback effect was encountered when cells used forces to modify cell positioning and COL distribution and orientations. Such feedback led to a bistability in the formation of linear, tubule-like patterns. Using micro-patterning technique, we further show that the stability of tubule-like patterns depended on the lengths of tubules. Our results suggest a mechanical mechanism that cells can use to initiate and maintain long-scale tubular patterns.

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Additional Information:© 2012 National Academy of Sciences. Freely available online through the PNAS open access option. Edited by Herbert Levine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, and approved January 24, 2012 (received for review September 8, 2011). Published online before print March 16, 2012. This work is supported by Ellison Medical Foundation and Western Heaven Funds. Author contributions: C.-L.G., M.O., J.-Y.Y., J.M., and A.P. designed research; C.-L.G., M.O., J.-Y.Y., J.M., A.P., and C.-Y.S. performed research; C.-L.G. and M.O. contributed new reagents/ analytic tools; C.-L.G., M.O., and C.-Y.S. analyzed data; and C.-L.G. wrote the paper.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ellison Medical FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Western Heaven FundsUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:tubulogenesis; biomechanics; morphogenesis
Issue or Number:15
PubMed Central ID:PMC3326479
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120525-095248642
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:31648
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:25 May 2012 20:14
Last Modified:02 Jun 2020 20:57

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