Frontiers of Science: Mechanobiology of intestinal organoids


May 6, 2021    
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Prof. Xavier Trepat, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
host: Diana Toivola (
online event

Registration closes May 5th at 12:00


Students and early-career postdocs are welcome to share a virtual cup of coffee and discuss with Prof. Trepat after the seminar. This is a great possibility to learn hosting skills in friendly environment and create connections for future. Every student are welcome to join, in spite of which research group they belong to.

If you got interested, after registering to the event please send an email to


Intestinal organoids capture essential features of the intestinal epithelium such as folding of the crypt, spatial compartmentalization of different cell types, and cellular movements from crypt to villus-like domains. Each of these processes and their coordination in time and space requires patterned physical forces that are currently unknown. Trepat lab maps the three-dimensional cell-ECM and cell-cell forces in mouse intestinal organoids grown on soft hydrogels. They show that these organoids exhibit a non-monotonic stress distribution that defines mechanical and functional compartments. The stem cell compartment pushes the ECM and folds through apical constriction, whereas the transit amplifying zone pulls the ECM and elongates through basal constriction. Tension measurements establish that the transit amplifying zone isolates mechanically the stem cell compartment and the villus-like domain. A 3D vertex model shows that the shape and force distribution of the crypt can be largely explained by cell surface tensions following the measured apical and basal actomyosin density. Finally, Trepat lab shows that cells are pulled out of the crypt along a gradient of increasing tension, rather than pushed by a compressive stress downstream of mitotic pressure as previously assumed. Trepat lab unveils how patterned forces enable folding and collective migration in the intestinal crypt.


Selected publications

D Park, E Wershof, S Boeing, A Labernadie, RP Jenkins, S George, … (2020) Extracellular matrix anisotropy is determined by TFAP2C-dependent regulation of cell collisions. Nature materials 19: 227-238

M Uroz, A Garcia-Puig, I Tekeli, A Elosegui-Artola, JF Abenza, … X Trepat (2019) Traction forces at the cytokinetic ring regulate cell division and polyploidy in the migrating zebrafish epicardium. Nature materials 18: 1015-1023

M Arroyo, X Trepat (2019) Embryonic self-fracking. Science 365: 442-443

C Pérez-González, R Alert, C Blanch-Mercader, M Gómez-González, … X Trepat (2019) Active wetting of epithelial tissues. Nature physics 15: 79-88


General information

  • All spring 2021 Frontiers of Science seminars are arranged online as eTALKs.
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