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Dev Biol. 2000 Jan 1;217(1):54-61.

Lateral induction by juxtacrine signaling is a new mechanism for pattern formation.

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Nonlinear and Complex Systems Group, Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom.


Many signaling molecules in epithelia are now known to function in a membrane-bound form, binding to receptors on immediately neighbouring cells. This "juxtacrine" mode of communication has been well studied in the case of lateral inhibition, where ligand binding at the cell surface downregulates ligand and receptor expression, and is known to generate spatial patterns with a wavelength of exactly two cells. However, recent evidence shows that a number of juxtacrine signals can lead to the opposite phenomenon of lateral induction. Here, we use mathematical modeling to show that such positive feedback, in combination with juxtacrine communication, provides a novel mechanism for the generation of spatial patterns, with wavelengths that vary with parameters and can be many cell lengths.

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