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Stress relaxation in epithelial monolayers is controlled by the actomyosin cortex

Khalilgharibi, N; Fouchard, J; Asadipour, N; Barrientos, R; Duda, M; Bonfanti, A; Yonis, A; ... Charras, G; + view all (2019) Stress relaxation in epithelial monolayers is controlled by the actomyosin cortex. Nature Physics , 15 pp. 839-847. 10.1038/s41567-019-0516-6. Green open access

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Abstract

Epithelial monolayers are one-cell-thick tissue sheets that line most of the body surfaces, separating internal and external environments. As part of their function, they must withstand extrinsic mechanical stresses applied at high strain rates. However, little is known about how monolayers respond to mechanical deformations. Here, by subjecting suspended epithelial monolayers to stretch, we find that they dissipate stresses on a minute timescale and that relaxation can be described by a power law with an exponential cut-off at timescales larger than about 10 s. This process involves an increase in monolayer length, pointing to active remodelling of cellular biopolymers at the molecular scale during relaxation. Strikingly, monolayers consisting of tens of thousands of cells relax stress with similar dynamics to single rounded cells, and both respond similarly to perturbations of the actomyosin cytoskeleton. By contrast, cell–cell junctional complexes and intermediate filaments do not relax tissue stress, but form stable connections between cells, allowing monolayers to behave rheologically as single cells. Taken together, our data show that actomyosin dynamics governs the rheological properties of epithelial monolayers, dissipating applied stresses and enabling changes in monolayer length.

Type: Article
Title: Stress relaxation in epithelial monolayers is controlled by the actomyosin cortex
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41567-019-0516-6
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-019-0516-6
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Biophysics, Biopolymers in vivo, Materials science
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Lab for Molecular Cell Bio MRC-UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > London Centre for Nanotechnology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10075114
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