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Phys Biol. 2011 Aug;8(4):045007. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/8/4/045007. Epub 2011 Jul 12.

Emergent cell and tissue dynamics from subcellular modeling of active biomechanical processes.

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Center for Biological Physics, Department of Physics, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA.


Cells and the tissues they form are not passive material bodies. Cells change their behavior in response to external biochemical and biomechanical cues. Behavioral changes, such as morphological deformation, proliferation and migration, are striking in many multicellular processes such as morphogenesis, wound healing and cancer progression. Cell-based modeling of these phenomena requires algorithms that can capture active cell behavior and their emergent tissue-level phenotypes. In this paper, we report on extensions of the subcellular element model to model active biomechanical subcellular processes. These processes lead to emergent cell and tissue level phenotypes at larger scales, including (i) adaptive shape deformations in cells responding to slow stretching, (ii) viscous flow of embryonic tissues, and (iii) streaming patterns of chemotactic cells in epithelial-like sheets. In each case, we connect our simulation results to recent experiments.

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