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Keywords:

  • ES cells;
  • internal force;
  • optic cup;
  • retina;
  • self-organization

Abstract

The generation of complex organ structures such as the eye requires the intricate orchestration of multiple cellular interactions. In this paper, early retinal development is discussed with respect to the structure formation of the optic cup. Although recent studies have elucidated molecular mechanisms of retinal differentiation, little is known about how the unique shape of the optic cup is determined. A recent report has demonstrated that optic-cup morphogenesis spontaneously occurs in three-dimensional stem-cell culture without external forces, indicating a latent intrinsic order to generate the structure. Based on this self-organizing phenomenon, we introduce the “relaxation-expansion” model to mechanically interpret the tissue dynamics that enable the spontaneous invagination of the neural retina. This model involves three consecutive local rules (relaxation, apical constriction, and expansion), and its computer simulation recapitulates the optic-cup morphogenesis in silico.