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Theoretical basis of the community effect in development

Abstract : Genetically identical cells often show significant variation in gene expression profile and behaviour even in the same physiological condition. Notably, embryonic cells destined to the same tissue maintain a uniform transcriptional regulatory state and form a homogeneous cell group. One mechanism to keep the homogeneity within embryonic tissues is the so-called community effect in animal development. The community effect is an interaction among a group of many nearby precursor cells, and is necessary for them to maintain tissue-specific gene expression and differentiate in a coordinated manner. Although it has been shown that the cell-cell communication by a diffusible factor plays a crucial role, it is not immediately obvious why a community effect needs many cells. In this work, we propose a model of the community effect in development, which consists in a linear gene cascade and cell-cell communication. We examined the properties of the model theoretically using a combination of stochastic and deterministic modelling methods. We have derived the analytical formula for the threshold size of a cell population that is necessary for a community effect, which is in good agreement with stochastic simulation results.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 13, 2011 - 2:07:23 PM
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Yasushi Saka, Cédric Lhoussaine, Celine Kuttler, Ekkehard Ullner, Marco Thiel. Theoretical basis of the community effect in development. BMC Systems Biology, BioMed Central, 2011, 5, pp.54. ⟨10.1186/1752-0509-5-54⟩. ⟨hal-00576155⟩

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