Date: 26 May 2014

Morphology and growth of polarized tissues

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Abstract

We study and classify the time-dependent morphologies of polarized tissues subject to anisotropic but spatially homogeneous growth. Extending previous studies, we model the tissue as a fluid, and discuss the interplay of the active stresses generated by the anisotropic cell division and three types of passive mechanical forces: viscous stresses, friction with the environment and tension at the tissue boundary. The morphology dynamics is formulated as a free-boundary problem, and conformal mapping techniques are used to solve the evolution numerically. We combine analytical and numerical results to elucidate how the different passive forces compete with the active stresses to shape the tissue in different temporal regimes and derive the corresponding scaling laws. We show that in general the aspect ratio of elongated tissues is non-monotonic in time, eventually recovering isotropic shapes in the presence of friction forces, which are asymptotically dominant.

Graphical abstract