Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Cells' cytoskeleton align as they grow in curved situations like tubules

21 October 2022

Tubular Cells

Epithelial cells form a sort of skin that lines our organs and tissues. During development, whole sheets move into place in process called collective cell migration. But our tissues aren’t always flat, and here researchers investigate how such cells move along curved surfaces, using fluorescently-labelled MDCK cells (green) – epithelial cells grown from cells that used to belong to kidney tubules. Growing inside a cylinder of nourishing hydrogel, the cells rotate around the curved surface, like people walking down a spiral staircase. The team finds epithelial cells align their inner cytoskeletons to determine which way to rotate and also link together – giving the population a direction or polarity. Researchers believe this rotational movement might be important during development, but also essential for cancerous cells to migrate during cancer metastasis.

Written by John Ankers

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