Active Vertex Model for cell-resolution description of epithelial tissue mechanics

Daniel L. Barton, Silke Henkes, Cornelis J. Weijer, Rastko Sknepnek (Corresponding Author)

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We introduce an Active Vertex Model (AVM) for cell-resolution studies of the mechanics of confluent epithelial tissues consisting of tens of thousands of cells, with a level of detail inaccessible to similar methods. The AVM combines the Vertex Model for confluent epithelial tissues with active matter dynamics. This introduces a natural description of the cell motion and accounts for motion patterns observed on multiple scales. Furthermore, cell contacts are generated dynamically from positions of cell centres. This not only enables efficient numerical implementation, but provides a natural description of the T1 transition events responsible for local tissue rearrangements. The AVM also includes cell alignment, cell-specific mechanical properties, cell growth, division and apoptosis. In addition, the AVM introduces a flexible, dynamically changing boundary of the epithelial sheet allowing for studies of phenomena such as the fingering instability or wound healing. We illustrate these capabilities with a number of case studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1005569
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

We would like to acknowledge many valuable discussions with Geoff Barton, Dapeng (Max) Bi, Luke Coburn, Amit Das, Tamal Das, Alexander Fletcher, François Graner, M. Lisa Manning, M. Cristina Marchetti, Kirsten Martens, Inke Näthke, and K. R. Prathyusha. SH acknowledges hospitality of the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics during the workshop “From Genes to Growth and Form”.

Funding: This work was supported by funding to SH from BBSRC grant number BB/N009150/1,, and CJW and RS from BBSRC grant number BB/N009789/1, The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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