Forget the octagon, scientists discover a new shape called “scutoid”

Avatar

/ published 4 years ago

Forget the octagon, scientists discover a new shape called “scutoid”

The discovery can help us understand how organs acquire such complex, yet in the same time, stable forms. It is critical for future organ and tissue engineering

A team of scientists have managed to identify a new 3D shape, which lets cells pack together without wasting energy. They believe the new shape is the most energy efficient shape. This geometric shape has been hiding in plain sight, but now scientists have managed to identify.

The discovery can help us understand how organs acquire such complex, yet in the same time, stable forms. In the same way as Legos form together, the scutoid enables epithelial cells, which are the construction blocks of organisms, to fold and curve. The new study will help researchers understand how biological structures form, with a hope to apply the newfound knowledge for creation of artificial tissues and organs.

Before this discovery, scientists believed that the epithelial cells adopted a prism or pyramid shape to create such structures. However, after examining the epithelial curves from laboratory samples, the team of scientists determined the shape more closely resembled twisted prisms.

The unique shape is due to the fact that when tissue curves, it tends to minimize energy, making it more stable.

The study

The team from Lehigh University, used computational modeling based on Voronoi diagraming for the purpose of the study. Scientists analyzed the three-dimensional packing of tissues in different animals, and found one constant. They found the animals adopted shaped predicted by the model.


During the modeling process, the results the team saw were weird, says Javier Buceta, one of the scientists in the study. The model predicted as the curvature of tissues increases, columns and bottle-shapes were not the only shapes that cells may develop. Once they found out the new shape, they were even more surprised, as the new form didn’t even have a name in math. They were glad they had the opportunity to name the new shape.

In the study, the researchers found out that the process relies on previously undescribed shape, which allows cells to maintain maximum stability while conserving energy. That is why they believe the new shape is the most efficient geometric shape to date. It is the most energy-efficient method of cell organization.

It was previously thought that the cells take on a columnar or bottle-like shape as they pack together. The study concluded that “in addition to the fundamental aspect of morphogenesis, the ability to engineer tissues and organs in the future critically relies on the ability to understand, and then control, the 3D organization of cells.

Making sense of the new shape

In order to understand the new shape, we need to understand epithelial cells. These cells are the building blocks of the embryonic development. They have to endure the twisting and packing that happens as the organs of the embryo form.


The team was studying these cells which can be found lining our organs and blood vessels. They pinpointed a three-dimensional shape that occurs as they bend and pack together.

According to the team of scientists, the process allows cells to maintain maximum stability while conserving energy. They named the new shape “scutoid” after the scutellum of a beetle’s thorax.

From Around the Web

Related Videos

Health
male fertility crisis
youtube icon
17:03

Sperm rates have been declining in Western countries for the past half century. What is causing the trend. Should we be afraid?This documentary explores how items you use every day...

  • 212
  • 1 month ago
  • Not Rated
Health
pregnancy to birth
youtube icon
19:35

What is pregnancy? It is the time during which one or more offspring develops, or gestates inside a woman’s womb.It is a wonder of the world. Symptoms in pregnancy start at aroun...

  • 347
  • 2 months ago
  • 10(1)
Health
cosmetic surgery australia
youtube icon
47:55

We knew it was bad. We didn't know it was this bad. Two months ago, in a joint 60 Minutes, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age investigation, Adele Ferguson reported on the shock...

  • 280
  • 2 months ago
  • Not Rated
Health
air fryer healthy
youtube icon
22:05

In the past several years, air fryers have been trending. Are they worth the buzz? Many believe only if they fit your lifestyle.For example, if you have a large family, it will tak...

  • 360
  • 3 months ago
  • Not Rated
Related Articles
In 1247, he published a book in which he explains how to determine which wound was the case of death. His book, “Washi...
  • 376
  • 2 months ago
This is a specific phobia, a condition that is often characterized by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or si...
  • 369
  • 2 months ago
Letitia filed for her patent for a new design for the medical syringe on February 12, 1896. It was three years later tha...
  • 1,520
  • 8 months ago
The MOSE project in Venice will be fully operational in 2023. At the time, the barriers will be raised when the water le...
  • 1,038
  • 9 months ago