About this Research Topic
How biological forms arise during development and evolution is a fundamental question that has attracted scientists for centuries. Developmental biologists were focused on the physical principles for tissue and organ formation. The advent of molecular biology had diverted the interest to analyze genes and proteins in embryos during tissue and organ formation. Scientists have achieved the links from genes to tissue geometry, in other words, the links from “genotypes” to “phenotypes”. Tissue morphogenesis and organogenesis are the focused research subjects to answer this fascinating question.
Profiting from the development of microscopic live-imaging techniques and in vivo labelling, we know that cellular dynamics is a hub between the genes and tissue geometry. Cellular dynamics include cell shape change, division, positioning, rearrangement, migration, and apoptosis. All living cells are dynamic machines that integrate a wide variety of biochemical and mechanical information, autonomously and continuously adapting and responding to the extra-environment. The fundamental cellular processes are important for morphogenesis and organogenesis, and also essential for understanding how perturbations alter their course and may lead to diseases.
Dynamic cellular behaviours primarily depend on the cytoskeleton and its adhesive contacts with neighbouring cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix. With close collaboration with physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists in the past decades, researchers have revealed that the mechanical forces are wildly involved in cellular behaviours and tissue shaping. Furthermore, physical forces can be measured and even manipulated in embryos and tissues. Consequently, more research hot spots are emerging in tissue morphogenesis and organogenesis. For example, what is the link between genes and forces? How do cells respond to the mechanical forces to alter and coordinate the cellular dynamics? How do chemical and mechanical signalling pathways intersect through neighbouring cells and the extracellular matrix? These and many other advances are thus poised to move the field forward.
In this Research Topic, we welcome Original Research, Methods, Reviews, and Opinion articles that highlight advances in the tissue morphogenesis and organogenesis field along, but are not limited to, the following subtopics:
• Intersections between chemical and mechanical signalling pathways
• Programmed and self-organized mechanisms for cellular dynamics
• Cell-cell and cell-matrix communications that drive cellular behaviours
• How cellular dynamics integrate multiple cues in morphogenesis and organogenesis
• Coordinated cell behaviours in morphogenesis and organogenesis
• The roles of mechanical forces and tensile stress at cellular and tissue levels in morphogenesis and organogenesis
• New techniques to induce or alter cellular and tissue dynamics
• Mathematical models for cellular dynamics
Keywords: mechanical forces, signalling, cytoskeleton, extracellular matrix
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