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PLoS Comput Biol. 2017 Jan 23;13(1):e1005320. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005320. eCollection 2017 Jan.

Gene Expression Noise Enhances Robust Organization of the Early Mammalian Blastocyst.

Author information

1
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN, United States of America.
2
Center for Complex Biological Systems, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA, United States of America.
3
Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA, United States of America.
4
Department of Mathematics, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA, United States of America.

Abstract

A critical event in mammalian embryo development is construction of an inner cell mass surrounded by a trophoectoderm (a shell of cells that later form extraembryonic structures). We utilize multi-scale, stochastic modeling to investigate the design principles responsible for robust establishment of these structures. This investigation makes three predictions, each supported by our quantitative imaging. First, stochasticity in the expression of critical genes promotes cell plasticity and has a critical role in accurately organizing the developing mouse blastocyst. Second, asymmetry in the levels of noise variation (expression fluctuation) of Cdx2 and Oct4 provides a means to gain the benefits of noise-mediated plasticity while ameliorating the potentially detrimental effects of stochasticity. Finally, by controlling the timing and pace of cell fate specification, the embryo temporally modulates plasticity and creates a time window during which each cell can continually read its environment and adjusts its fate. These results suggest noise has a crucial role in maintaining cellular plasticity and organizing the blastocyst.

PMID:
28114387
PMCID:
PMC5293272
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005320
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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