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Influence of cell-to-cell variability on spatial pattern formation

B. Greese, K. Wester, Robert Bensch, Olaf Ronneberger, J. Timmer, M. Hülskamp, C. Fleck
IET Systems Biology, 6(4): 143--153, 2012

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Abstract: Many spatial patterns in biology arise through differentiation of selected cells within a tissue, which is regulated by a genetic network. This is specified by its structure, its parameterisation, and the noise on its components and reactions. The latter, in particular, is not well examined because it is rather difficult to trace. We employ suitable local mathematical measures based on the Voronoi diagram of experimentally determined positions of epidermal plant hairs (trichomes) to examine the variability or noise in pattern formation. Although trichome initiation is a highly regulated process we show that the experimentally observed trichome pattern is substantially disturbed by cell-to-cell variations. Using computer simulations we find that the rates concerning the availability of the protein complex which triggers trichome formation plays a significant role in noise-induced variations of the pattern. The focus on the effects of cell noise yields further insights into pattern formation of trichomes. We expect that similar strategies can contribute to the understanding of other differentiation processes by elucidating the role of naturally occurring fluctuations in the concentration of cellular components or their properties.

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BibTex references

@Article{BR12,
  author       = "B.Greese and K.Wester and R.Bensch and O.Ronneberger and J.Timmer and M.Hülskamp and C.Fleck",
  title        = "Influence of cell-to-cell variability on spatial pattern formation ",
  journal      = "IET Systems Biology",
  number       = "4",
  volume       = "6",
  pages        = "143--153",
  year         = "2012",
  url          = "http://lmb.informatik.uni-freiburg.de//Publications/2012/BR12"
}

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