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Surface-tension-induced budding drives alveologenesis in human mammary gland organoids

The development of glands involves cylindrical branches transforming into spherical alveoli. Now there is evidence to suggest that this process can be understood as a budding instability driven by a decrease in tension anisotropy in the tissue.

Organ development involves complex shape transformations driven by active mechanical stresses that sculpt the growing tissue(1,2). Epithelial gland morphogenesis is a prominent example where cylindrical branches transform into spherical alveoli during growth(3-5). Here we show that this shape transformation is induced by a local change from anisotropic to isotropic tension within the epithelial cell layer of developing human mammary gland organoids. By combining laser ablation with optical force inference and theoretical analysis, we demonstrate that circumferential tension increases at the expense of axial tension through a reorientation of cells that correlates with the onset of persistent collective rotation around the branch axis. This enables the tissue to locally control the onset of a generalized Rayleigh-Plateau instability, leading to spherical tissue buds(6). The interplay between cell motion, cell orientation and tissue tension is a generic principle that may turn out to drive shape transformations in other cell tissues.


Research Cooperation

CeNS stimulates and supports research cooperation - crossing the borders between disciplines and different institutions. Shared knowledge and know-how as well as continuous discussions between the members of the network promote synergy effects which boost scientific progress. CeNS continuously provides a multitude of different occasions for the researchers to meet and exchange ideas during scientific meetings and social events. Furthermore, the scientific board awards funding for cooperation projects of scientists belonging to different CeNS groups.

The successful collaborative research work between different CeNS scientists from Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Pharmacy and Medicine leads to joint research papers published in high-impact journals. The following list shows a selection of recently published cooperative papers:

Controlled Nanometric Phase Transitions of Phospholipid Membranes by Plasmonic Heating of Single Gold Nanoparticles

A. S. Urban, M. Fedoruk, M. R. Horton, J. O. R├Ądler, F. D. Stefani and J. Feldmann - Nano Lett., 2009, 9 (8), pp 29032908 more …

Optoelectronic sensitization of carbon nanotubes by CdTe nanocrystals

B. Zebli, H. A. Vieyra, I. Carmeli, A. Hartschuh, J. P. Kotthaus, and A. W. Holleitner - Phys. Rev. B 79, 205402 (2009) more …