Interacting active surfaces: A model for three-dimensional cell aggregates.

  • publication
  • 17-12-2022

Torres-Sánchez A, Kerr Winter M, Salbreux G. PLoS Comput Biol 2022 Dec;18(12):e1010762. 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1010762. PCOMPBIOL-D-22-00456.

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.

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