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IMC
ZIH
TU Dresden
Dept. for Innovative
Methods of Computing
 

Development & Regeneration

Tissue size regulation

One principle question in developmental biology is how tissue size is controlled. Which biochemical and biophysical mechanisms feed the organ-scale information back down to individual cells where the decisions to further proliferate are taken? Malfunction of this multi-scale circuit can result in tumor growth. We have started to address this questions for the special case of epithelial cysts, the building blocks of many organs like the kidney. We found that intra-luminal ion concentration can drive and arrest cyst growth through an interplay of osmotic fluid transport, ion dilution and stretch-activated cell proliferation.

Size Regulation 1 Size Regulation 2

Key Publications:

E. Gin, E. M. Tanaka, L. Brusch
A model for cyst lumen expansion and size regulation via fluid secretion
Journal of Theoretical Biology, 264, 1077-1088, 2010 [DOI]

Cooperations:

Prof. Elly M. Tanaka (CRTD / DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden - Cluster of Excellence, Dresden)

Segmentation

Many body structures are segmented like limbs along their proximo-distal axis into bones and joints or the developing vertebrates' antero-posterior axis into somites. What determines the number of segments in the different cases? Taking a comparative model approach, we aim at unraveling underlying organizational principles for segmentation and segment counting.

Cooperations:

Dr. Andrew C. Oates (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden)
Prof. Elly M. Tanaka (CRTD / DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden - Cluster of Excellence, Dresden)

Chevron formation

The body segments of fish have a folded shape, called chevron, which is obvious from the oblique orientation of fish bones. The chevron shape has been proposed to be optimal for the alternating body movements during swimming. Much less is known about which physical mechanisms underly the development of this shape during embryogenesis. So far, the only suggested mechanism for chevron formation in zebrafish relates swimming movements to somite boundary changes. We review this hypothesis and search for an alternative mechanism which also accounts for chevron formation in non-moving mutants.

Chevron in Fish

We analyzed movies of developing zebrafish embryos to quantify the boundary shape changes. We suggest that they are due to the forces generated by the developing muscle cells. In a first mathematical model we minimize the energy of a chain of coupled springs. Model analysis yields the exponential increase in boundary bending as a function of somite index which has been observed for the anterior somites. The aim of our ongoing work is to predict how observed shapes emerge and change under modified conditions.

Cooperations:

Dr. Andrew C. Oates (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden)

Coral Growth

coral We investigate morphogenesis of the stony coral Stylophora pistillata (within the EU-Project "Coralzoo"). Based on new molecular data, the goal is to discover the branching rules with the help of mathematical models (cooperation with Prof. B. Rinkevich, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute, Haifa, Israel). The mathematical model is not only thought as in-silico tool to simulate coral growth but shall also allow testing of different growth scenarios. In particular, the model shall permit the prediction of regeneration experiments. The model is a cellular automaton that can simulate macroscopic pattern formation based on local interactions of coral polyps. "Polyp moduls" in the model are specified by age and their genetic status. A central question is: Is communication through the gastrovascular network necessary or is purely local cell-cell communication sufficient to explain coral morphogenesis?

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