📰 Our cells relax in the curves

A UNIGE team has shown that the cells that make up our tissues increase in volume under the constraint of curvature. A key discovery for in vitro organ culture.


“Sheet” of cells folded into a tube shape: Cells initially laid flat were forced to curl up.
(c) Aurelien Roux

How are our cells organized to give our organs their final shape? The answer lies in morphogenesis, together (In set theory, a set intuitively designates a collection…) mechanisms that govern their distribution in space during embryonic development. A team ofUniversity of Geneva (The University of Geneva (UNIGE) is the public university of the canton of Geneva in…) (UNIGE) has just made a surprising discovery in this field: when a fabric curve (In geometry, the word curved or curved line designates certain subsets of…)the volume (Volume, in physical or mathematical sciences, is a quantity that measures extension…) of the cells that compose it increases instead of decreasing. This discovery opens new avenues for culture (The Culture is a pangalactic civilization invented by Iain M. Banks through his…) organs in vitro (In vitro (Latin: “in the glass”) means a tube test, or, more…)partial alternative toexperimentation with animals (Animal testing is about using animals as models, for good…). It also suggests new prospects for the production of certain materials (A material is a material of natural or artificial origin that is molded by man to…). East research (Scientific research designates in the first place all actions undertaken with a view to…) will be discovered in the journal Developmental Cell.

In biology (Biology, commonly called “bio”, is the science of life…), we call “morphogenesis” the mechanisms that determine the distribution of cells in space to model the shape and structure of our tissues and organs. These mechanisms act during embryonic development and help explain how, for example, the folds of our intestines or the alveoli of our lungs are formed. In other words, these phenomena are the basis of our development and that of all (The whole understood as the whole of what exists is often interpreted as the world or…) to be alive.

The cells swell and it is unexpected

In recent research, Professor Roux’s team studied how the cells that make up a tissue react and adapt in the event of curvature (Intuitively, the curve is opposed to the straight line: the curvature of a geometric object is…) of this By folding a monolayer of cells in vitro, that is, a compact, flat array of cells arranged side by side, the UNIGE scientists made a counterintuitive discovery. “We found that the volume of cells located in the curvature increased by about 50% after five minutes (Primary form of a document: Law: an act is the original of a…) instead of decreasing, it then returned to normal in less than 30 minutes”, explains Aurélien Roux, last author of this study. This is the complete opposite of what can be observed when folding a material (A material is a material of natural or artificial origin that man molds…) elastic.

Curving this”bed sheet (The leaf is the organ specialized in photosynthesis in plants…)of cells, similar to the one that constitutes our skin (The skin is an organ made up of several layers of tissue. It performs, among other things, the…), the researchers more accurately noted that the latter swelled to take the shape of small domes. “The fact that this increase in volume is displaced in the weather (Time is a concept developed by the human being to apprehend the…) and transient also shows that it is an active and living system”, adds Caterina Tomba, first author of the study and former researcher at the Department of biochemistry (Biochemistry is the scientific discipline that studies the chemical reactions that take place…) from UNIGE.

A mechanical and biological phenomenon.

It is the combination of two phenomena that explains this increase in volume. “The first is a mechanical reaction to curvature, the second is related to the Pressure (Pressure is a fundamental physical notion. You can think of it as an informed force…) called osmotic exerted on the cell”, indicates Aurélien Roux. Cells indeed evolve in a environment (The environment is everything that surrounds us. They are all natural elements and…) consisting ofWater (Water is an omnipresent chemical compound on Earth, essential for everyone…) salty. The semi-permeable membrane that separates them from their environment leaves to spend (The genus Passer was created by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques…) water but not salt, which exerts some pressure on the cell. The higher the concentration of external salt -and therefore the so-called osmotic pressure-, the more water the cell membrane will allow to pass through, which will increase its volume.

“When we induced (The armature is a generally electromagnetic device used in electrical engineering responsible for…) a curvature, the cells react as if the osmotic pressure increased. Therefore, they absorb more water, which makes them swell,” explains the seeker (A researcher (fem. researcher) refers to a person whose job it is to investigate…).

Useful to reduce animal testing.

Understanding how cells respond to curvature is an important advance for the in vitro development of organoids. These multicellular structures in three dimensions (In common sense, the notion of dimension refers to size; the dimensions of a room…)designed to reproduce the microanatomy of a Organ (An organ is a set of tissues that contribute to the performance of a function…) and its functions, allow a large amount of research to be carried out without resorting to animal experimentation. “Our discovery is an active phenomenon to be taken into account to control the growing up (Pousse is the name given to an illegal car race in Reunion). spontaneous organoids, that is, to achieve the desired shape and size of the organ”, rejoices Aurélien Roux. The long-term goal would be to “grow” any replacement organ for certain patients.

These results are also of interest to industrial circles. “Today, strictly speaking, there are no materials that increase in volume when flounder (Flies [pli] is an ambiguous vernacular name for flatfish in French. The…). Engineers conceptualized such a material without even realizing it, because its production turned out to be extremely complicated. Therefore, our work also offers new insights for the development of such materials”, concludes Aurélien Roux.

Publication:
This research is published in Developmental Cell – DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2022.04.017

Contact:
Aurélien Roux – Professor. Department of Biochemistry. Faculty of Sciences – Aurelien.Roux at unige.ch

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