Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Cell. 2019 Feb 7;176(4):844-855.e15. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.01.007. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

Optimal Decoding of Cellular Identities in a Genetic Network.

Author information

1
Joseph Henry Laboratories of Physics and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA; Program in Biophysics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
2
Institute of Science and Technology Austria, Am Campus 1, 3400 Klosterneuburg, Austria.
3
Joseph Henry Laboratories of Physics and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
4
Department of Molecular Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
5
Joseph Henry Laboratories of Physics and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA; Department of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, UMR3738, Institut Pasteur, 75015 Paris, France. Electronic address: tg2@princeton.edu.

Abstract

In developing organisms, spatially prescribed cell identities are thought to be determined by the expression levels of multiple genes. Quantitative tests of this idea, however, require a theoretical framework capable of exposing the rules and precision of cell specification over developmental time. We use the gap gene network in the early fly embryo as an example to show how expression levels of the four gap genes can be jointly decoded into an optimal specification of position with 1% accuracy. The decoder correctly predicts, with no free parameters, the dynamics of pair-rule expression patterns at different developmental time points and in various mutant backgrounds. Precise cellular identities are thus available at the earliest stages of development, contrasting the prevailing view of positional information being slowly refined across successive layers of the patterning network. Our results suggest that developmental enhancers closely approximate a mathematically optimal decoding strategy.

KEYWORDS:

Drosophila; cell fate; cell specification; developmental precision; embryonic patterning; genetic networks; optimality; quantitative imaging

PMID:
30712870
PMCID:
PMC6526179
[Available on 2020-02-07]
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2019.01.007

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center