Role of Delta-Notch signalling molecules on cell-cell adhesion in determining heterogeneous chemical and cell morphological patterning

Supriya Bajpai, Raghunath Chelakkot, Ranganathan Prabhakar, Mandar M. Inamdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Cell mechanics and motility are responsible for collective motion of cells that result in overall deformation of epithelial tissues. On the other hand, contact-dependent cell-cell signalling is responsible for generating a large variety of intricate, self-organized, spatial patterns of the signalling molecules. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly clear that the combined mechanochemical patterns of cell shape/size and signalling molecules in the tissues, for example, in cancerous and sensory epithelium, are governed by mechanochemical coupling between chemical signalling and cell mechanics. However, a clear quantitative picture of how these two aspects of tissue dynamics, i.e., signalling and mechanics, lead to pattern and form is still emerging. Although, a number of recent experiments demonstrate that cell mechanics, cell motility, and cell-cell signalling are tightly coupled in many morphogenetic processes, relatively few modeling efforts have focused on an integrated approach. We extend the vertex model of an epithelial monolayer to account for contact-dependent signalling between adjacent cells and between non-adjacent neighbors through long protrusional contacts with a feedback mechanism wherein the adhesive strength between adjacent cells is controlled by the expression of the signalling molecules in those cells. Local changes in cell-cell adhesion lead to changes in cell shape and size, which in turn drives changes in the levels of signalling molecules. Our simulations show that even this elementary two-way coupling of chemical signalling and cell mechanics is capable of giving rise to a rich variety of mechanochemical patterns in epithelial tissues. In particular, under certain parametric conditions, bimodal distributions in cell size and shape are obtained, which resemble experimental observations in cancerous and sensory tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3505-3520
Number of pages16
JournalSoft Matter
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2022

Cite this