The Effect of Substrate Stiffness on Elastic Force Transmission in the Epithelial Monolayers over Short Timescales

    Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkeliScientificvertaisarvioitu

    4 Lataukset (Pure)


    Purpose: The importance of mechanical forces and microenvironment in guiding cellular behavior has been widely accepted. Together with the extracellular matrix (ECM), epithelial cells form a highly connected mechanical system subjected to various mechanical cues from their environment, such as ECM stiffness, and tensile and compressive forces. ECM stiffness has been linked to many pathologies, including tumor formation. However, our understanding of the effect of ECM stiffness and its heterogeneities on rapid force transduction in multicellular systems has not been fully addressed. Methods: We used experimental and computational methods. Epithelial cells were cultured on elastic hydrogels with fluorescent nanoparticles. Single cells were moved by a micromanipulator, and epithelium and substrate deformation were recorded. We developed a computational model to replicate our experiments and quantify the force distribution in the epithelium. Our model further enabled simulations with local stiffness gradients. Results: We found that substrate stiffness affects the force transduction and the cellular deformation following an external force. Also, our results indicate that the heterogeneities, e.g., gradients, in the stiffness can substantially influence the strain redistribution in the cell monolayers. Furthermore, we found that the cells’ apico-basal elasticity provides a level of mechanical isolation between the apical cell–cell junctions and the basal focal adhesions. Conclusions: Our simulation results show that increased ECM stiffness, e.g., due to a tumor, can mechanically isolate cells and modulate rapid mechanical signaling between cells over distances. Furthermore, the developed model has the potential to facilitate future studies on the interactions between epithelial monolayers and elastic substrates.

    DOI - pysyväislinkit
    TilaE-pub ahead of print - heinäk. 2023
    OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä


    • Jufo-taso 1

    !!ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Modelling and Simulation
    • Yleinen biokemia, genetiikka ja molekyylibiologia


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