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Cell Rep. 2015 Aug 4;12(5):892-900. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.06.070. Epub 2015 Jul 23.

How Does the Xenopus laevis Embryonic Cell Cycle Avoid Spatial Chaos?

Author information

1
Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5174, USA; Applied Physics Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address: lendert.gelens@gmail.com.
2
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5444, USA; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5124, USA.
3
Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5174, USA; Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5307, USA.

Abstract

Theoretical studies have shown that a deterministic biochemical oscillator can become chaotic when operating over a sufficiently large volume and have suggested that the Xenopus laevis cell cycle oscillator operates close to such a chaotic regime. To experimentally test this hypothesis, we decreased the speed of the post-fertilization calcium wave, which had been predicted to generate chaos. However, cell divisions were found to develop normally, and eggs developed into normal tadpoles. Motivated by these experiments, we carried out modeling studies to understand the prerequisites for the predicted spatial chaos. We showed that this type of spatial chaos requires oscillatory reaction dynamics with short pulse duration and postulated that the mitotic exit in Xenopus laevis is likely slow enough to avoid chaos. In systems with shorter pulses, chaos may be an important hazard, as in cardiac arrhythmias, or a useful feature, as in the pigmentation of certain mollusk shells.

PMID:
26212326
PMCID:
PMC4531097
DOI:
10.1016/j.celrep.2015.06.070
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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