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Guiding self-organized pattern formation in cell polarity establishment

Gross, P; Kumar, KV; Goehring, NW; Bois, JS; Hoege, C; Jülicher, F; Grill, SW; (2018) Guiding self-organized pattern formation in cell polarity establishment. Nature Physics , 15 pp. 293-300. 10.1038/s41567-018-0358-7. Green open access

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Spontaneous pattern formation in Turing systems relies on feedback. But patterns in cells and tissues seldom form spontaneously—instead they are controlled by regulatory biochemical interactions that provide molecular guiding cues. The relationship between these guiding cues and feedback in controlled biological pattern formation remains unclear. Here, we explore this relationship during cell-polarity establishment in the one-cell-stage Caenorhabditis elegans embryo. We quantify the strength of two feedback systems that operate during polarity establishment: feedback between polarity proteins and the actomyosin cortex, and mutual antagonism among polarity proteins. We characterize how these feedback systems are modulated by guiding cues from the centrosome, an organelle regulating cell cycle progression. By coupling a mass-conserved Turing-like reaction–diffusion system for polarity proteins to an active-gel description of the actomyosin cortex, we reveal a transition point beyond which feedback ensures self-organized polarization, even when cues are removed. Notably, the system switches from a guide-dominated to a feedback-dominated regime well beyond this transition point, which ensures robustness. Together, these results reveal a general criterion for controlling biological pattern-forming systems: feedback remains subcritical to avoid unstable behaviour, and molecular guiding cues drive the system beyond a transition point for pattern formation.

Type: Article
Title: Guiding self-organized pattern formation in cell polarity establishment
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41567-018-0358-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-018-0358-7
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10065640
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