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You are here: Home / Teams / Epithelial differentiation and morphogenesis in Drosophila - M. Grammont / Publications / A mathematical model to study the dynamics of epithelial cellular networks.

A mathematical model to study the dynamics of epithelial cellular networks.

Alessandro Abate, Stephane Vincent, Roel Dobbe, Alberto Silletti, Neal Master, Jeffrey D Axelrod, and Claire J Tomlin (2012)

IEEE/ACM Trans Comput Biol Bioinform, 9(6):1607-20.

Epithelia are sheets of connected cells that are essential across the animal kingdom. Experimental observations suggest that the dynamical behavior of many single-layered epithelial tissues has strong analogies with that of specific mechanical systems, namely large networks consisting of point masses connected through spring-damper elements and undergoing the influence of active and dissipating forces. Based on this analogy, this work develops a modeling framework to enable the study of the mechanical properties and of the dynamic behavior of large epithelial cellular networks. The model is built first by creating a network topology that is extracted from the actual cellular geometry as obtained from experiments, then by associating a mechanical structure and dynamics to the network via spring-damper elements. This scalable approach enables running simulations of large network dynamics: the derived modeling framework in particular is predisposed to be tailored to study general dynamics (for example, morphogenesis) of various classes of single-layered epithelial cellular networks. In this contribution, we test the model on a case study of the dorsal epithelium of the Drosophila melanogaster embryo during early dorsal closure (and, less conspicuously, germband retraction).

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