Cell division and death inhibit glassy behaviour of confluent tissues

D. A. Matoz-Fernandez*, Kirsten Martens, Rastko Sknepnek, J. L. Barrat, Silke Henkes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the effects of cell division and apoptosis on collective dynamics in two-dimensional epithelial tissues. Our model includes three key ingredients observed across many epithelia, namely cell-cell adhesion, cell death and a cell division process that depends on the surrounding environment. We show a rich non-equilibrium phase diagram depending on the ratio of cell death to cell division and on the adhesion strength. For large apoptosis rates, cells die out and the tissue disintegrates. As the death rate decreases, however, we show, consecutively, the existence of a gas-like phase, a gel-like phase, and a dense confluent (tissue) phase. Most striking is the observation that the tissue is self-melting through its own internal activity, ruling out the existence of any glassy phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3205-3212
Number of pages8
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number17
Early online date3 Apr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Apr 2017


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