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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 20, 2023
  2. Brain organoids recapitulate a number of brain properties, including neuronal diversity. However, do they recapitulate brain structure? Using a hydrodynamic description for cell nuclei as particles interacting initially via an effective , attractive force as mediated by the respective, surrounding cytoskeletons, we quantify structure development in brain organoids to determine what physical mechanism regulates the number of cortex-core structures. Regions of cell nuclei overdensity in the linear regime drive the initial seeding for cortex-core structures, which ultimately develop in the non-linear regime, as inferred by the emergent form of an effective interaction between cell nuclei and with the extracellular environment. Individual cortex-core structures then provide a basis upon which we build an extended version of the buckling without bending morphogenesis (BWBM) model, with its proliferating cortex and constraining core, to predict foliations/folds of the cortex in the presence of a nonlinearity due to cortical cells actively regulating strain. In doing so, we obtain asymmetric foliations/folds with respect to the trough (sulci) and the crest (gyri). In addition to laying new groundwork for the design of more familiar and less familiar brain structures, the hydrodynamic description for cell nuclei during the initial stages of brain organoid development provides an intriguing quantitativemore »connection with large-scale structure formation in the universe.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 7, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  4. Abstract During morphogenesis, a featureless convex cerebellum develops folds. As it does so, the cortex thickness is thinnest at the crest (gyri) and thickest at the trough (sulci) of the folds. This observation cannot be simply explained by elastic theories of buckling. A recent minimal model explained this phenomenon by modeling the developing cortex as a growing fluid under the constraints of radially spanning elastic fibers, a plia membrane and a nongrowing sub-cortex (Engstrom et al 2019 Phys. Rev. X 8 041053). In this minimal buckling without bending morphogenesis (BWBM) model, the elastic fibers were assumed to act linearly with strain. Here, we explore how nonlinear elasticity influences shape development within BWBM. The nonlinear elasticity generates a quadratic nonlinearity in the differential equation governing the system’s shape and leads to sharper troughs and wider crests, which is an identifying characteristic of cerebellar folds at later stages in development. As developing organs are typically not in isolation, we also explore the effects of steric confinement, and observe flattening of the crests. Finally, as a paradigmatic example, we propose a hierarchical version of BWBM from which a novel mechanism of branching morphogenesis naturally emerges to qualitatively predict later stages of the morphology ofmore »the developing cerebellum.« less
  5. Both animal and plant tissue exhibit a nonlinear rheological phenomenon known as compression stiffening, or an increase in moduli with increasing uniaxial compressive strain. Does such a phenomenon exist in single cells, which are the building blocks of tissues? One expects an individual cell to compression soften since the semiflexible biopolymer-based cytoskeletal network maintains the mechanical integrity of the cell and in vitro semiflexible biopolymer networks typically compression soften. To the contrary, we find that mouse embryonic fibroblasts (mEFs) compression stiffen under uniaxial compression via atomic force microscopy studies. To understand this finding, we uncover several potential mechanisms for compression stiffening. First, we study a single semiflexible polymer loop modeling the actomyosin cortex enclosing a viscous medium modeled as an incompressible fluid. Second, we study a two-dimensional semiflexible polymer/fiber network interspersed with area-conserving loops, which are a proxy for vesicles and fluid-based organelles. Third, we study two-dimensional fiber networks with angular-constraining crosslinks, i.e. semiflexible loops on the mesh scale. In the latter two cases, the loops act as geometric constraints on the fiber network to help stiffen it via increased angular interactions. We find that the single semiflexible polymer loop model agrees well with the experimental cell compression stiffening findingmore »until approximately 35% compressive strain after which bulk fiber network effects may contribute. We also find for the fiber network with area-conserving loops model that the stress–strain curves are sensitive to the packing fraction and size distribution of the area-conserving loops, thereby creating a mechanical fingerprint across different cell types. Finally, we make comparisons between this model and experiments on fibrin networks interlaced with beads as well as discuss implications for single cell compression stiffening at the tissue scale.« less