Paper on hexanematic order appeared in Nature Comm.

“Hexanematic crossover in epithelial monolayers depends on cell adhesion and cell density”

Julia Eckert, Benoît Ladoux, René-Marc Mège, Luca Giomi & Thomas Schmidt

Changes in tissue geometry during developmental processes are associated with collective migration of cells. Recent experimental and numerical results suggest that these changes could leverage on the coexistence of nematic and hexatic orientational order at different length scales. How this multiscale organization is affected by the material properties of the cells and their sub- strate is presently unknown. In this study, we address these questions in monolayers of Madin-Darby canine kidney cells having various cell densities and molecular repertoires. At small length scales, confluent monolayers are characterized by a prominent hexatic order, independent of the presence of E- cadherin, monolayer density, and underlying substrate stiffness. However, all three properties affect the meso-scale tissue organization. The length scale at which hexatic order transits to nematic order, the “hexanematic” crossover scale, strongly depends on cell-cell adhesions and correlates with monolayer density. Our study demonstrates how epithelial organization is affected by mechanical properties, and provides a robust description of tissue organiza- tion during developmental processes.

To be read in: Nat Comm 14, 5762

Congrats to Julia!

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