University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Morphogenesis Seminar Series > To stay or leave? Cell-to-cell heterogeneity and progenitor’s segregation within the bird embryonic tail

To stay or leave? Cell-to-cell heterogeneity and progenitor’s segregation within the bird embryonic tail

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  • UserBertrand Benazeraf
  • ClockMonday 15 November 2021, 14:30-15:30
  • HouseOnline.

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Although cell-to-cell heterogeneity in gene and protein expression within cell populations has been widely documented, we know little about its biological functions. By studying progenitors of the posterior region of bird embryos, we found that expression levels of transcription factors Sox2 and Bra, respectively involved in neural tube and mesoderm specification, display a high degree of cell-to-cell heterogeneity. By combining forced expression, and downregulation approaches with time-lapse imaging we demonstrate that Sox2-to-Bra ratio guides progenitor’s motility and their ability to stay in or exit the progenitor zone to integrate neural or mesodermal tissues. Indeed, high Bra levels confer high motility that pushes cells to join the paraxial mesoderm, while high levels of Sox2 tend to inhibit cell movement forcing cells to integrate the neural tube. Mathematical modelling captures the importance of cell motility regulation in this process and further suggests that randomness in Sox2/Bra cell-to-cell distribution favors cell rearrangements and tissue shape conservation.

This talk is part of the Morphogenesis Seminar Series series.

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