Computable Early C. elegans Embryo with a Data-driven Phase Field Model

Xiangyu Kuang, Guoye Guan, Ming-Kin Wong, Lu-Yan Chan, Zhongying Zhao, Chao Tang*, Lei Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paperPreprint


Morphogenesis is a precise and robust dynamic process during metazoan embryogenesis, consisting of both cell proliferation and cell migration. Despite the fact that much is known about specific regulations at the molecular level, how cell proliferation and migration together drive the morphogenesis at the cellular and organismic levels is not well understood. Here, using Caenorhabditis elegans as the model animal, we present a data-driven phase field model to compute the early embryonic morphogenesis within a confined eggshell. By using three-dimensional time-lapse cellular morphological information generated by imaging experiments to set the model parameters, we can not only reproduce the precise evolution of cell location, cell shape and cell-cell contact relationship in vivo, but also reveal the critical roles of cell division and cellcell attraction in governing the early development of C. elegans embryo. In brief, we provide a generic approach to compute the embryonic morphogenesis and decipher the underlying mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2020

User-Defined Keywords

  • morphogenesis
  • embryogenesis
  • C. elegans
  • phase field model
  • cell morphology
  • mechanoconnectome


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