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Nat Commun. 2018 Jul 27;9(1):2960. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05376-1.

Scutoids are a geometrical solution to three-dimensional packing of epithelia.

Author information

1
Departamento de Biología Celular, Universidad de Sevilla and Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS), Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío/CSIC/Universidad de Sevilla, 41013, Seville, Spain.
2
CABD, CSIC/JA/UPO, Campus Universidad Pablo de Olavide, 41013, Seville, Spain.
3
Departamento de Matemática Aplicada I, Universidad de Sevilla, 41012, Seville, Spain.
4
Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa and CIBER de Enfermedades Raras. C/ Nicolás Cabrera 1, 28049, Madrid, Spain.
5
St. George's, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, SW17 0RE, London, UK.
6
Bioengineering Department, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 18018, USA. jbuceta@lehigh.edu.
7
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 18018, USA. jbuceta@lehigh.edu.
8
Departamento de Biología Celular, Universidad de Sevilla and Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS), Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío/CSIC/Universidad de Sevilla, 41013, Seville, Spain. lmescudero-ibis@us.es.

Abstract

As animals develop, tissue bending contributes to shape the organs into complex three-dimensional structures. However, the architecture and packing of curved epithelia remains largely unknown. Here we show by means of mathematical modelling that cells in bent epithelia can undergo intercalations along the apico-basal axis. This phenomenon forces cells to have different neighbours in their basal and apical surfaces. As a consequence, epithelial cells adopt a novel shape that we term "scutoid". The detailed analysis of diverse tissues confirms that generation of apico-basal intercalations between cells is a common feature during morphogenesis. Using biophysical arguments, we propose that scutoids make possible the minimization of the tissue energy and stabilize three-dimensional packing. Hence, we conclude that scutoids are one of nature's solutions to achieve epithelial bending. Our findings pave the way to understand the three-dimensional organization of epithelial organs.

PMID:
30054479
PMCID:
PMC6063940
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-018-05376-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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