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Cell. 2016 Feb 11;164(4):656-67. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.01.028.

Self-Organization of Embryonic Genetic Oscillators into Spatiotemporal Wave Patterns.

Author information

1
Developmental Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.
2
Developmental Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), 69117 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: aulehla@embl.de.

Abstract

In vertebrate embryos, somites, the precursor of vertebrae, form from the presomitic mesoderm (PSM), which is composed of cells displaying signaling oscillations. Cellular oscillatory activity leads to periodic wave patterns in the PSM. Here, we address the origin of such complex wave patterns. We employed an in vitro randomization and real-time imaging strategy to probe for the ability of cells to generate order from disorder. We found that, after randomization, PSM cells self-organized into several miniature emergent PSM structures (ePSM). Our results show an ordered macroscopic spatial arrangement of ePSM with evidence of an intrinsic length scale. Furthermore, cells actively synchronize oscillations in a Notch-signaling-dependent manner, re-establishing wave-like patterns of gene activity. We demonstrate that PSM cells self-organize by tuning oscillation dynamics in response to surrounding cells, leading to collective synchronization with an average frequency. These findings reveal emergent properties within an ensemble of coupled genetic oscillators.

PMID:
26871631
PMCID:
PMC4752819
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2016.01.028
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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