Aug 23, 2015

Cell-cell communication enhances the capacity of cell ensembles to sense shallow gradients during morphogenesis

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
David EllisonAndre Levchenko

Abstract

Collective cell responses to exogenous cues depend on cell-cell interactions. In principle, these can result in enhanced sensitivity to weak and noisy stimuli. However, this has not yet been shown experimentally, and, little is known about how multicellular signal processing modulates single cell sensitivity to extracellular signaling inputs, including those guiding complex changes in the tissue form and function. Here we explored if cell-cell communication can enhance the ability of cell ensembles to sense and respond to weak gradients of chemotactic cues. Using a combination of experiments with mammary epithelial cells and mathematical modeling, we find that multicellular sensing enables detection of and response to shallow Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) gradients that are undetectable by single cells. However, the advantage of this type of gradient sensing is limited by the noisiness of the signaling relay, necessary to integrate spatially distributed ligand concentration information. We calculate the fundamental sensory limits imposed by this communication noise and combine them with the experimental data to estimate the effective size of multicellular sensory groups involved in gradient sensing. Functional experiments stron...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Calcium [EPC]
Epidermal Growth Factor
Extracellular
Calcium
Mammary Gland
Squamous Transitional Epithelial Cell Count
Protoplasm
Neurons
Chemotaxis
Cell Communication

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