Self-organized patterning by diffusible factors: roles of a community effect

Kirill Batmanov, Celine Kuttler, Cédric Lhoussaine, Yasushi Saka

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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For decades, scientists have sought to elucidate self-organized patterning during develop- ment of higher organisms. It has been shown that cell interaction plays a key role in this process. One example is the community effect, an interaction among undifferentiated cells. The community effect allows cell population to forge a common identity, that is, coordinated and sustained tissue-specific gene expression.
The community effect was originally observed in muscle differentiation in Xenopus embryos, and is nowthought to be a widespread phenomenon. From a modelling point of view, the community effect is the existence of a threshold size of cell populations, above which the probability of tissue-specific gene expression for a sustained period increases significantly. Below this threshold size, the cell population fails to maintain tissue-specific gene expression after the initial induction.
In this work, we examine the dynamics of a community effect in space and investigate its roles in two other processes of self-organized patterning by diffusible factors: Turing’s reaction-diffusion system and embryonic induction by morphogens.
Our major results are the following. First, we show that, starting from a one-dimensional space model with the simplest possible feedback loop, a community effect spreads in an unlimited manner in space. Second, this unrestricted expansion of a community effect can be avoided by additional negative feedback. In Turing’s reaction-diffusion system with a built-in community effect, if induc- tion is localized, sustained activation also remains localized. Third, when a simple cross-repression gene circuitry is combined with a community effect loop, the system self-organizes. A gene expres- sion pattern with a well-demarcated boundary appears in response to a transient morphogen gradi- ent. Surprisingly, even when the morphogen distribution eventually becomes uniform, the system can maintain the pattern. The regulatory network thus confers memory of morphogen dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-461
Number of pages44
JournalFundamenta Informaticae
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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