University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Theory - Chemistry Research Interest Group > Upside Down and Inside Out: The Biomechanics of Cell Sheet Folding

Upside Down and Inside Out: The Biomechanics of Cell Sheet Folding

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Deformations of cell sheets are ubiquitous in early animal development, often arising from a complex and poorly understood interplay of cell shape changes, division, and migration. I will describe our work on perhaps the simplest example of cell sheet folding: the “inversion” process of the algal genus Volvox, during which spherical embryos turn themselves inside out through a process hypothesized to arise from cell shape changes alone. We have used light sheet microscopy to obtain the first three-dimensional visualizations of inversion in vivo, and developed the first theory of this process, in which cell shape changes appear as local variations of intrinsic curvature, contraction and stretching of an elastic shell. Our results support a scenario in which these active processes function in a defined spatiotemporal manner to enable inversion.

This talk is part of the Theory - Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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