Coordinated motion of cell monolayers during epithelial wound healing and tissue morphogenesis involves mechanical stress generation. Here we propose a model for the dynamics of epithelial expansion that couples mechanical deformations in the tissue to contractile activity and polarization in the cells. A new ingredient of our model is a feedback between local strain, polarization, and contractility that naturally yields a mechanism for viscoelasticity and effective inertia in the cell monolayer. Using a combination of analytical and numerical techniques, we demonstrate that our model quantitatively reproduces many experimental findings [Nat. Phys. 8, 628 (2012)], including the buildup of intercellular stresses, and the existence of traveling mechanical waves guiding the oscillatory monolayer expansion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)