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Publications in Cells by NOMIS researchers

A key feature of many developmental systems is their ability to self-organize spatial patterns of functionally distinct cell fates. To ensure proper biological function, such patterns must be established reproducibly, by controlling and even harnessing intrinsic and extrinsic fluctuations. While the relevant molecular processes are increasingly well understood, we lack a principled framework to quantify the performance of such stochastic self-organizing systems. To that end, we introduce an information-theoretic measure for self-organized fate specification during embryonic development. We show that the proposed measure assesses the total information content of fate patterns and decomposes it into interpretable contributions corresponding to the positional and correlational information. By optimizing the proposed measure, our framework provides a normative theory for developmental circuits, which we demonstrate on lateral inhibition, cell type proportioning, and reaction–diffusion models of self-organization. This paves a way toward a classification of developmental systems based on a common information-theoretic language, thereby organizing the zoo of implicated chemical and mechanical signaling processes.

Research field(s)

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

March 24, 2023

The multicellular organization of diverse systems, including embryos, intestines, and tumors relies on coordinated cell migration in curved environments. In these settings, cells establish supracellular patterns of motion, including collective rotation and invasion. While such collective modes have been studied extensively in flat systems, the consequences of geometrical and topological constraints on collective migration in curved systems are largely unknown. Here, we discover a collective mode of cell migration in rotating spherical tissues manifesting as a propagating single-wavelength velocity wave. This wave is accompanied by an apparently incompressible supracellular flow pattern featuring topological defects as dictated by the spherical topology. Using a minimal active particle model, we reveal that this collective mode arises from the effect of curvature on the active flocking behavior of a cell layer confined to a spherical surface. Our results thus identify curvature-induced velocity waves as a mode of collective cell migration, impacting the dynamical organization of 3D curved tissues. © 2023, The Author(s).

Research field(s)
Natural Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, Fluids & Plasmas