As organs and tissues approach their normal size during development or regeneration, growth slows down, and cell proliferation progressively comes to a halt. Among the various processes suggested to contribute to growth termination, mechanical feedback, perhaps via adherens junctions, has been suggested to play a role. However, since adherens junctions are only present in a narrow plane of the subapical region, other structures are likely needed to sense mechanical stresses along the apical-basal (A-B) axis, especially in a thick pseudostratified epithelium. This could be achieved by nuclei, which have been implicated in mechanotransduction in tissue culture. In addition, mechanical constraints imposed by nuclear crowding and spatial confinement could affect interkinetic nuclear migration (IKNM), which allows G2 nuclei to reach the apical surface, where they normally undergo mitosis. To explore how mechanical constraints affect IKNM, we devised an individual-based model that treats nuclei as deformable objects constrained by the cell cortex and the presence of other nuclei. The model predicts changes in the proportion of cell-cycle phases during growth, which we validate with the cell-cycle phase reporter FUCCI (Fluorescent Ubiquitination-based Cell Cycle Indicator). However, this model does not preclude indefinite growth, leading us to postulate that nuclei must migrate basally to access a putative basal signal required for S phase entry. With this refinement, our updated model accounts for the observed progressive slowing down of growth and explains how pseudostratified epithelia reach a stereotypical thickness upon completion of growth.
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