Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surface Tension Drives Segregation Within Cell Mixtures

Date:
October 15, 2008
Source:
Vanderbilt University
Summary:
What does a mixture of two different kinds of cells have in common with a mixture of oil and water? The same basic force causes both mixtures to separate into two distinct regions. That is the conclusion of a new 3-D computer model of the cell sorting process.

The output of a new 3-D computer of the cell sorting process shows a mixture of two types of cells -- one type shown in color and the other transparent -- that have separated as a result of the force of surface tension.
Credit: Shane Hutson, Vanderbilt University

What does a mixture of two different kinds of cells have in common with a mixture of oil and water? The same basic force causes both mixtures to separate into two distinct regions.

That is the conclusion of a new three-dimensional computer model of the cell sorting process produced by Shane Hutson, assistant professor of physics at Vanderbilt University, and his colleagues at the University of Waterloo in Canada that is described in the Oct. 3 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

The force in question is surface tension – a property of liquids that arises from intermolecular forces – specifically an effect called the Plateau-Rayleigh Instability that explains the tendency of water to form droplets.

Mechanical interactions between cells play an important role in a number of biological processes, including the development of embryos and the spread of cancer. Understanding these interactions is particularly important in current efforts to create artificial tissues.

"In order to design and control the building of artificial tissues of any sort, we have to understand how cell/cell interactions drive shape and structure formation at a very deep level," Hutson says.

Currently, these interactions are often modeled using analogs from fluid mechanics including viscosity and surface tension. "What we have shown is a fascinating new role for surface tension in the process of cell sorting – the ability of random mixtures of two cell types to spontaneously sort themselves into two distinct domains," Hutson says.

Previous 2-D and 3-D models of cell sorting had indicated that surface tension alone was not powerful enough to drive this "unmixing" process by itself, leading researchers to propose that the cells themselves must also change shape randomly to keep the process from grinding to a halt before it is completed.

The new computer model looked at the structure of the 3-D mixtures in greater detail. It showed that in mixtures where the minority cell type makes up at least 25 percent of the mix, more than 95 percent of the minority cells are in direct contact with other minority cells instead of being totally surrounded by majority cells and found that this contact enhances the surface tension effect, allowing it to drive the sorting process without assistance from cell fluctuations.

Hutson's collaborators from the University of Waterloo are G. Wayne Brodland, Justina Yang and Denis Viens. The work was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the National Science Foundation and the Human Frontier Science Program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University. "Surface Tension Drives Segregation Within Cell Mixtures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006130546.htm>.
Vanderbilt University. (2008, October 15). Surface Tension Drives Segregation Within Cell Mixtures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006130546.htm
Vanderbilt University. "Surface Tension Drives Segregation Within Cell Mixtures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006130546.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Magic Leap isn't publicizing much more than a description of its product, but it’s been enough for Google and others to invest more than $500M. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins