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Control of mechanochemical self-organization during cell polarization

CMCB Postdoc seminar

Date:15.09.2017, 16:00 - 17:00
Speaker: Stephan Grill, Peter Gross (Postdoc)

Biological pattern formation often relies on self-organization, integrating biochemical with mechanical patterning processes. Such patterns are particularly important during embryogenesis, as they increase spatial complexity through a sequence of organizing processes that generally build upon previously established pre-patterns. How pre-patterns control self-organization remains unexplored. Here we investigate PAR polarity establishment in the C. elegans zygote, by combining measurements of the spatial distribution of protein numbers and fluxes with a physical theory. We characterize the handover from a pre-pattern to mechanochemical self-organization, and find that guiding cues from the centrosome steer the patterning system comprised of PAR proteins and the actomyosin cortex to a transition point beyond which the patterned state becomes self-organized. This mechanism of controlled pattern formation integrates mechanical and molecular aspects of biological pattern formation with guiding cues. Our results uncover how biological patterns can deterministically emerge by a coordinated handover from guidance by a pre-pattern to self-organization, and illustrates on how cell mechanics and biochemical signaling act in concert to increase spatial complexity during embryogenesis.

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