How can dense biological tissue maintain sharp boundaries between coexisting cell populations? We explore this question within a simple vertex model for cells, focusing on the role of topology and tissue surface tension. We show that the ability of cells to independently regulate adhesivity and tension, together with neighbor-based interaction rules, lets them support strikingly unusual interfaces. In particular, we show that mechanical- and fluctuation-based measurements of the effective surface tension of a cellular aggregate yield different results, leading to mechanically soft interfaces that are nevertheless extremely sharp.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Physics and Astronomy