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Shaping lumens by force

A team of scientists from Singapore and France has revealed the underlying mechanism for the formation and growth of a fundamental type of tissue – epithelial tubes. Defects in the architecture of epithelial tubes lead to diseases such as cholestasis, atherosclerosis and polycystic kidney disease. The research findings contribute towards a deeper understanding of the principles that underline epithelial tube formation, and offer opportunities for developing better therapies for such diseases.

Composite Image of Epithelial Tubes in Circular and Triangular Microwells
A composite image of epithelial tubes formed between the contacting lateral surfaces of two liver cells on artificial membranes in circular and triangular microwells. Researchers found that by coating the microwells with fibronectin in different patterns, the shape of the epithelial tubes that grow in the microwells are altered.
Credit: Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore