Epithelial tissues function as barriers that separate the organism from the environment. They usually have highly curved shapes, such as tubules or cysts. However, the processes by which the geometry of the environment and the cell’s mechanical properties set the epithelium shape are not yet known. In this study, we encapsulated two epithelial cell lines, MDCK and J3B1A, into hollow alginate tubes and grew them under cylindrical confinement forming a complete monolayer. MDCK monolayers detached from the alginate shell at a constant rate, whereas J3B1A monolayers detached at a low rate unless the tube radius was reduced. We showed that this detachment is driven by contractile stresses in the epithelium and can be enhanced by local curvature. This allows us to conclude that J3B1A cells exhibit smaller contractility than MDCK cells. Monolayers inside curved tubes detach at a higher rate on the outside of a curve, confirming that detachment is driven by contraction.
Maechler, F. A., Allier, C., Roux, A., & Tomba, C. (2019). Curvature-dependent constraints drive remodeling of epithelia. Journal of Cell Science, 132(4). https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.222372