Team uncovers the underlying mechanisms of 3-D tissue formation | 11/21/2018 | Staff
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If you want to build an organ for transplant, you need to think in 3-D. Using stem cells, scientists are now able to grow parts of organs in the lab, but that is a far cry from constructing a fully-formed, functioning, three-dimensional organ.

For students of regenerative medicine and developmental biology, this is why understanding how cells bend and move to form organs and bodily tissue is a hot topic. A team at Kyoto University's Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences has now gained new understanding into how cells undergoing mechanical strain create the spherical structure of the eye.

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Publishing in Science Advances, the team found that individual cells together form a primordial, cup-like structure—an 'optic cup'—by sensing mechanical forces resulting from the deformation of the entire tissue. "In the past, we succeeded in making the optic cup by culturing embryonic stem—ES—cells. To form a sphere, the tissue needed to first protrude from primordial brain tissue and then invaginate inside," explains first author Satoru Okuda.

"But how individual cells sensed and modulated themselves to form that shape had been unclear."

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The team developed a computational simulation that calculates the formation of three-dimensional tissue structures. Using this knowledge and past experimental data, they constructed a virtual precursor eye and were able to predict the physics driving the sphere-forming cells.

Their findings show that during optic cup...
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