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      Defect-mediated morphologies in growing cell colonies

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          Abstract

          Morphological trends in growing colonies of living cells are at the core of physiological and evolutionary processes. Using active gel equations, which include cell division, we show that shape changes during the growth can be regulated by the dynamics of topological defects in the orientation of cells. The friction between the dividing cells and underlying substrate drives anisotropic colony shapes toward more isotropic morphologies, by mediating the number density and velocity of topological defects. We show that the defects interact with the interface at a specific interaction range, set by the vorticity length scale of flows within the colony, and that the cells predominantly reorient parallel to the interface due to division-induced active stresses.

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          Journal
          1601.04489

          Condensed matter, Thermal physics & Statistical mechanics, Biophysics

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