Active cell-matrix coupling regulates cellular force landscapes of cohesive epithelial monolayers

Tiankai Zhao, Yao Zhang, Qiong Wei, Xuechen Shi, Peng Zhao, Long Qing Chen, Sulin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Epithelial cells can assemble into cohesive monolayers with rich morphologies on substrates due to competition between elastic, edge, and interfacial effects. Here we present a molecularly based thermodynamic model, integrating monolayer and substrate elasticity, and force-mediated focal adhesion formation, to elucidate the active biochemical regulation over the cellular force landscapes in cohesive epithelial monolayers, corroborated by microscopy and immunofluorescence studies. The predicted extracellular traction and intercellular tension are both monolayer size and substrate stiffness dependent, suggestive of cross-talks between intercellular and extracellular activities. Our model sets a firm ground toward a versatile computational framework to uncover the molecular origins of morphogenesis and disease in multicellular epithelia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
Journalnpj Computational Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Computer Science Applications


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