The Francis Crick Institute
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Interacting active surfaces: A model for three-dimensional cell aggregates.

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-09, 13:48 authored by Alejandro Torres-Sánchez, Max Kerr Winter, Guillaume Salbreux
We introduce a modelling and simulation framework for cell aggregates in three dimensions based on interacting active surfaces. Cell mechanics is captured by a physical description of the acto-myosin cortex that includes cortical flows, viscous forces, active tensions, and bending moments. Cells interact with each other via short-range forces capturing the effect of adhesion molecules. We discretise the model equations using a finite element method, and provide a parallel implementation in C++. We discuss examples of application of this framework to small and medium-sized aggregates: we consider the shape and dynamics of a cell doublet, a planar cell sheet, and a growing cell aggregate. This framework opens the door to the systematic exploration of the cell to tissue-scale mechanics of cell aggregates, which plays a key role in the morphogenesis of embryos and organoids.


Crick (Grant ID: 10317, Grant title: Salbreux FC001317) Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Grant ID: EP/T003103/1, Grant title: EPSRC EP/T003103/1)