A density-independent rigidity transition in biological tissues

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173 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cell migration is important in many biological processes, including embryonic development, cancer metastasis and wound healing. In these tissues, a cell's motion is often strongly constrained by its neighbours, leading to glassy dynamics. Although self-propelled particle models exhibit a density-driven glass transition, this does not explain liquid-to-solid transitions in confluent tissues, where there are no gaps between cells and therefore the density is constant. Here we demonstrate the existence of a new type of rigidity transition that occurs in the well-studied vertex model for confluent tissue monolayers at constant density. We find that the onset of rigidity is governed by a model parameter that encodes single-cell properties such as cell-cell adhesion and cortical tension, providing an explanation for liquid-to-solid transitions in confluent tissues and making testable predictions about how these transitions differ from those in particulate matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1074-1079
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Volume11
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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