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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Relaxation and blistering in epithelial cell monolayers Event

8 December 2017
Building 06, Room 1083 (L/R/C)

Event details

Abstract: Epithelia are planar tissues, separating the internal environment from the external environment in many organs. Epithelia are subjected to mechanical perturbations that vary greatly in magnitude and timescale during development, normal physiological function and regeneration. The speaker will present two recent studies that examine the behaviour of monolayers over short or long time-scales. As part of their function, monolayers must withstand extrinsic mechanical stresses applied at high strain rate. However, little is known about how monolayers respond to mechanical deformations. In stress relaxation tests, monolayers respond in a biphasic manner and stress dissipation is accompanied by an increase in monolayer resting length, pointing to active remodelling of cell architecture during relaxation. Consistent with this, the actin cytoskeleton remodels at a rate commensurate with mechanical relaxation and governs the rate of monolayer stress relaxation– as in single cells. By contrast, junctional complexes and intermediate filaments form stable connections between cells, enabling monolayers to behave rheologically as single cells. Together, these data show actomyosin cytoskeletal dynamics govern the rheological properties of monolayers by enabling active, ATP-dependent changes in the resting length. Another major epithelial function is the directed absorption and excretion of nutrients, water, and ions in a process known as vectorial transport. When cultured on impermeable substrates, a manifestation of vectorial transport is the generation of multicellular blisters. We examined the interaction between cell mechanics, cell adhesion, and hydrodynamic phenomena that leads to dome formation. Blisters arise through the progressive accumulation of fluid into progressively larger dynamic fluid pockets trapped between the cells and the impermeable substrate leading to sub-cellular, cellular, and multi-cellular blisters. By examining the evolution of the average blister size, we show that dome growth can be understood through a common class of coarsening phenomena known as Ostwald ripening that underlies the evolution of droplet size in emulsions.

Speaker information

Guillaume Charras,London Centre for Nanotechnology,Short CV: 1998 MSc Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech, USA; 2002 PhD UCL; 2003-2007 Post-doc: Harvard Medical School, USA. 2007-2013: University Research fellow, LCN. 2013-2016: Reader. 2016: Professor in Cell and Tissue Biophysics.

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