Emergent chirality in active solid rotation of pancreas spheres

Preprint, 2022


Collective cell dynamics play a crucial role in many developmental and physiological contexts. While two-dimensional (2D) cell migration has been widely studied, how three-dimensional (3D) geometry and topology interplay with collective cell behavior to determine dynamics and functions remains an open question. In this work, we elucidate the biophysical mechanism underlying rotation in spherical tissues, a phenomenon widely reported both in vivo and in vitro. Using murine pancreas-derived organoids as a model system, we find that epithelial spheres exhibit persistent rotation, rotational axis drift and rotation arrest. Using a 3D vertex model, we demonstrate how the interplay between traction force and polarity alignment can account for these distinct rotational dynamics. Furthermore, our analysis shows that the spherical tissue rotates as an active solid and exhibits spontaneous chiral symmetry breaking. Using a continuum model, we demonstrate how the types and location of topological defects in the polarity field underlie this symmetry breaking process. Altogether, our work shows that tissue chirality can arise via topological defects in the pattern of cell traction forces, with potential implications for left-right symmetry breaking processes in morphogenetic events.

Recommended citation: "Emergent chirality in active solid rotation of pancreas spheres", T. H. Tan, A. Amiri, I. Seijo-Barandiarán, M. F. Staddon, A. Materne, S. Tomas, C. Duclut, M. Popović, A. Grapin-Botton, F. Jülicher, bioRxiv:2022.09.29.510101 (2022). https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.09.29.510101

bioRxiv version [pdf]