Dataset for Wang et al. 2020: Reconstituting Stratified Epithelial Branching Morphogenesis by Engineering Cell Adhesion

This dataset can be used to reproduce all plots in Wang et al., 2020 manuscript titled: "Reconstituting Stratified Epithelial Branching Morphogenesis by Engineering Cell Adhesion" in combination with the Jupyter notebook scripts available from this Github repository:

1. Download and decompress the dataset zip file.

2. Place the "data" folder and the "scripts" folder (from GitHub) in the same folder.

Note: This folder organization is necessary because relative path is used to read in data in all scripts (e.g., '../data/specific_data_folder/data_table').

3. Run scripts to reproduce plots of interest. Refer to the table in the README file of the Github repository to find out which scripts were used to generate which figures.

During embryogenesis, many organs undergo branching morphogenesis to form tree-like hierarchical structures. However, it remains unclear what drives branching in stratified epithelia, such as in embryonic salivary gland and pancreas. Here, we performed live-organ imaging of mouse embryonic salivary glands at single-cell resolution to reveal branching driven by expansion and folding of an epithelial surface cell sheet characterized by strong cell-matrix adhesion and weak cell-cell adhesion. We successfully reconstituted this early developmental process by experimentally suppressing E-cadherin expression and inducing basement membrane formation in 3D spheroid cultures of engineered cells. Reconstituted branching required integrin-mediated cell-matrix adhesions and was promoted by elevating cell-matrix adhesion strength. Thus, stratified epithelial branching is driven by the combination of strong cell-matrix adhesion and weak cell-cell adhesion of peripheral epithelial cells.