Surface tension and modeling of cellular intercalation during zebrafish gastrulation

Colette Calmelet, Diane Sepich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we discuss a model of zebrafish embryo notochord development based on the effect of surface tension of cells at the boundaries. We study the process of interaction of mesodermal cells at the boundaries due to adhesion and cortical tension, resulting in cellular intercalation. From in vivo experiments, we obtain cell outlines of time-lapse images of cell movements during zebrafish embryo development. Using Cellular Potts Model, we calculate the total surface energy of the system of cells at different time intervals at cell contacts. We analyze the variations of total energy depending on nature of cell contacts. We demonstrate that our model can be viable by calculating the total surface energy value for experimentally observed configurations of cells and showing that in our model these configurations correspond to a decrease in total energy values in both two and three dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-275
Number of pages17
JournalMathematical Biosciences and Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Anisotropic adhesion
  • Cellular Potts model
  • Cellular intercalation
  • Cortical tension
  • Modeling
  • Mophogenetic movements
  • Stability
  • Surface tension
  • Total energy
  • Zebrafish


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