Collective cell movement promotes synchronization of coupled genetic oscillators.
ABSTRACT: Collective cell movement is a crucial component of embryonic development. Intercellular interactions regulate collective cell movement by allowing cells to transfer information. A key question is how collective cell movement itself influences information flow produced in tissues by intercellular interactions. Here, we study the effect of collective cell movement on the synchronization of locally coupled genetic oscillators. This study is motivated by the segmentation clock in zebrafish somitogenesis, where short-range correlated movement of cells has been observed. We describe the segmentation clock tissue by a Voronoi diagram, cell movement by the force balance of self-propelled and repulsive forces between cells, the dynamics of the direction of self-propelled motion, and the synchronization of genetic oscillators by locally coupled phase oscillators. We find that movement with a correlation length of about 2 ? 3 cell diameters is optimal for the synchronization of coupled oscillators. Quantification of cell mixing reveals that this short-range correlation of cell movement allows cells to exchange neighbors most efficiently. Moreover, short-range correlated movement strongly destabilizes nonuniform spatial phase patterns, further promoting global synchronization. Our theoretical results suggest that collective cell movement may enhance the synchronization of the segmentation clock in zebrafish somitogenesis. More generally, collective cell movement may promote information flow in tissues by enhancing cell mixing and destabilizing spurious patterns.
Project description:In vertebrate somitogenesis, the expression of segmentation clock genes oscillates and the oscillation is synchronized over nearby cells. Both experimental and theoretical studies have shown that the synchronization among cells is realized by intercellular interaction via Delta-Notch signaling. However, the following questions emerge: (i) During somitogenesis, dynamic rearrangement of relative cell positions is observed in the posterior presomitic mesoderm. Can a synchronized state be stably sustained under random cell movement? (ii) Experimental studies have reported that the synchronization of cells can be recovered in about 10 or fewer oscillation cycles after the complete loss of synchrony. However, such a quick recovery of synchronization is not possible according to previous theoretical models. In this paper, we first show by numerical modeling that synchronized oscillation can be sustained under random cell movement. We also find that for initial perturbation, the synchronization of cells is recovered much faster and it is for a wider range of reaction parameters than the case without cell movement. When the posterior presomitic mesoderm is rectangular, faster synchronization is achieved if cells exchange their locations more with neighbors located along the longer side of the domain. Finally, we discuss that the enhancement of synchronization by random cell movement occurs in several different models for the oscillation of segmentation clock genes.
Project description:While it is known that a large fraction of vertebrate genes are under the control of a gene regulatory network (GRN) forming a clock with circadian periodicity, shorter period oscillatory genes like the Hairy-enhancer-of split (Hes) genes are discussed mostly in connection with the embryonic process of somitogenesis. They form the core of the somitogenesis-clock, which orchestrates the periodic separation of somites from the presomitic mesoderm (PSM). The formation of sharp boundaries between the blocks of many cells works only when the oscillators in the cells forming the boundary are synchronized. It has been shown experimentally that Delta-Notch (D/N) signaling is responsible for this synchronization. This process has to happen rather fast as a cell experiences at most five oscillations from its 'birth' to its incorporation into a somite. Computer simulations describing synchronized oscillators with classical modes of D/N-interaction have difficulties to achieve synchronization in an appropriate time. One approach to solving this problem of modeling fast synchronization in the PSM was the consideration of cell movements. Here we show that fast synchronization of Hes-type oscillators can be achieved without cell movements by including D/N cis-inhibition, wherein the mutual interaction of DELTA and NOTCH in the same cell leads to a titration of ligand against receptor so that only one sort of molecule prevails. Consequently, the symmetry between sender and receiver is partially broken and one cell becomes preferentially sender or receiver at a given moment, which leads to faster entrainment of oscillators. Although not yet confirmed by experiment, the proposed mechanism of enhanced synchronization of mesenchymal cells in the PSM would be a new distinct developmental mechanism employing D/N cis-inhibition. Consequently, the way in which Delta-Notch signaling was modeled so far should be carefully reconsidered.
Project description:A model of coupled molecular biochemical oscillators is proposed to study nonequilibrium thermodynamics of synchronization. We find that synchronization of nonequilibrium oscillators costs addition energy to drive the exchange reaction (chemical interaction) between individual oscillators. By solving the steady state of the many-body system analytically, we show that the system goes through a nonequilibrium phase transition driven by energy dissipation, and the critical energy dissipation depends on both the frequency and strength of the exchange reaction. Moreover, our study reveals the optimal design for achieving maximum synchronization with a fixed energy budget. We apply our general theory to the Kai system in Cyanobacteria circadian clock and predict a relationship between the KaiC ATPase activity and synchronization of the KaiC hexamers. The theoretical framework can be extended to study thermodynamics of collective behaviors in other extended nonequilibrium active systems.
Project description:In vertebrate development, the sequential and rhythmic segmentation of the body axis is regulated by a "segmentation clock". This clock is comprised of a population of coordinated oscillating cells that together produce rhythmic gene expression patterns in the embryo. Whether individual cells autonomously maintain oscillations, or whether oscillations depend on signals from neighboring cells is unknown. Using a transgenic zebrafish reporter line for the cyclic transcription factor Her1, we recorded single tailbud cells in vitro. We demonstrate that individual cells can behave as autonomous cellular oscillators. We described the observed variability in cell behavior using a theory of generic oscillators with correlated noise. Single cells have longer periods and lower precision than the tissue, highlighting the role of collective processes in the segmentation clock. Our work reveals a population of cells from the zebrafish segmentation clock that behave as self-sustained, autonomous oscillators with distinctive noisy dynamics.
Project description:Rhythmic and sequential subdivision of the elongating vertebrate embryonic body axis into morphological somites is controlled by an oscillating multicellular genetic network termed the segmentation clock. This clock operates in the presomitic mesoderm (PSM), generating dynamic stripe patterns of oscillatory gene-expression across the field of PSM cells. How these spatial patterns, the clock's collective period, and the underlying cellular-level interactions are related is not understood. A theory encompassing temporal and spatial domains of local and collective aspects of the system is essential to tackle these questions. Our delayed coupling theory achieves this by representing the PSM as an array of phase oscillators, combining four key elements: a frequency profile of oscillators slowing across the PSM; coupling between neighboring oscillators; delay in coupling; and a moving boundary describing embryonic axis elongation. This theory predicts that the segmentation clock's collective period depends on delayed coupling. We derive an expression for pattern wavelength across the PSM and show how this can be used to fit dynamic wildtype gene-expression patterns, revealing the quantitative values of parameters controlling spatial and temporal organization of the oscillators in the system. Our theory can be used to analyze experimental perturbations, thereby identifying roles of genes involved in segmentation.
Project description:The synchronization of stochastic coupled oscillators is a central problem in physics and an emerging problem in biology, particularly in the context of circadian rhythms. Most measurements on the biological clock are made at the macroscopic level of millions of cells. Here measurements are made on the oscillators in single cells of the model fungal system, Neurospora crassa, with droplet microfluidics and the use of a fluorescent recorder hooked up to a promoter on a clock controlled gene-2 (ccg-2). The oscillators of individual cells are stochastic with a period near 21?hours (h), and using a stochastic clock network ensemble fitted by Markov Chain Monte Carlo implemented on general-purpose graphical processing units (or GPGPUs) we estimated that >94% of the variation in ccg-2 expression was stochastic (as opposed to experimental error). To overcome this stochasticity at the macroscopic level, cells must synchronize their oscillators. Using a classic measure of similarity in cell trajectories within droplets, the intraclass correlation (ICC), the synchronization surface ICC is measured on >25,000 cells as a function of the number of neighboring cells within a droplet and of time. The synchronization surface provides evidence that cells communicate, and synchronization varies with genotype.
Project description:Abrupt and continuous spontaneous emergence of collective synchronization of coupled oscillators have attracted much attention. In this paper, we propose a dynamical ensemble order parameter equation that enables us to grasp the essential low-dimensional dynamical mechanism of synchronization in networks of coupled oscillators. Different solutions of the dynamical ensemble order parameter equation build correspondences with diverse collective states, and different bifurcations reveal various transitions among these collective states. The structural relationship between the incoherent state and the synchronous state leads to different routes of transitions to synchronization, either continuous or discontinuous. The explosive synchronization is determined by the bistable state where the measure of each state and the critical points are obtained analytically by using the dynamical ensemble order parameter equation. Our method and results hold for heterogeneous networks with star graph motifs such as scale-free networks, and hence, provide an effective approach in understanding the routes to synchronization in more general complex networks.
Project description:In higher organisms, circadian rhythms are generated by a multicellular genetic clock that is entrained very efficiently to the 24-h light-dark cycle. Most studies done so far of these circadian oscillators have considered a perfectly periodic driving by light, in the form of either a square wave or a sinusoidal modulation. However, in natural conditions, organisms are subject to nonnegligible fluctuations in the light level all through the daily cycle. In this article, we investigate how the interplay between light fluctuations and intercellular coupling affects the dynamics of the collective rhythm in a large ensemble of nonidentical, globally coupled cellular clocks modeled as Goodwin oscillators. On the basis of experimental considerations, we assume an inverse dependence of the cell-cell coupling strength on the light intensity, in such a way that the larger the light intensity, the weaker the coupling. Our results show a noise-induced rhythm generation for constant light intensities at which the clock is arrhythmic in the noise-free case. Importantly, the rhythm shows a resonancelike phenomenon as a function of the noise intensity. Such improved coherence can be only observed at the level of the overt rhythm and not at the level of the individual oscillators, thus suggesting a cooperative effect of noise, coupling, and the emerging synchronization between the oscillators.
Project description:Collective motions of animals that move towards the same direction is a conspicuous feature in nature. Such groups of animals are called a self-propelled agent (SPA) systems. Many studies have been focused on the synchronization of isolated SPA systems. In real scenarios, different SPA systems are coupled with each other forming a network of SPA systems. For example, a flock of birds and a school of fish show predator-prey relationships and different groups of birds may compete for food. In this work, we propose a general framework to study the collective motion of coupled self-propelled agent systems. Especially, we study how three different connections between SPA systems: symbiosis, predator-prey, and competition influence the synchronization of the network of SPA systems. We find that a network of SPA systems coupled with symbiosis relationship arrive at a complete synchronization as all its subsystems showing a complete synchronization; a network of SPA systems coupled by predator-prey relationship can not reach a complete synchronization and its subsystems converges to different synchronized directions; and the competitive relationship between SPA systems could increase the synchronization of each SPA systems, while the network of SPA systems coupled by competitive relationships shows an optimal synchronization for small coupling strength, indicating that small competition promotes the synchronization of the entire system.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Collective rhythms of gene regulatory networks have been a subject of considerable interest for biologists and theoreticians, in particular the synchronization of dynamic cells mediated by intercellular communication. Synchronization of a population of synthetic genetic oscillators is an important design in practical applications, because such a population distributed over different host cells needs to exploit molecular phenomena simultaneously in order to emerge a biological phenomenon. However, this synchronization may be corrupted by intrinsic kinetic parameter fluctuations and extrinsic environmental molecular noise. Therefore, robust synchronization is an important design topic in nonlinear stochastic coupled synthetic genetic oscillators with intrinsic kinetic parameter fluctuations and extrinsic molecular noise.<h4>Results</h4>Initially, the condition for robust synchronization of synthetic genetic oscillators was derived based on Hamilton Jacobi inequality (HJI). We found that if the synchronization robustness can confer enough intrinsic robustness to tolerate intrinsic parameter fluctuation and extrinsic robustness to filter the environmental noise, then robust synchronization of coupled synthetic genetic oscillators is guaranteed. If the synchronization robustness of a population of nonlinear stochastic coupled synthetic genetic oscillators distributed over different host cells could not be maintained, then robust synchronization could be enhanced by external control input through quorum sensing molecules. In order to simplify the analysis and design of robust synchronization of nonlinear stochastic synthetic genetic oscillators, the fuzzy interpolation method was employed to interpolate several local linear stochastic coupled systems to approximate the nonlinear stochastic coupled system so that the HJI-based synchronization design problem could be replaced by a simple linear matrix inequality (LMI)-based design problem, which could be solved with the help of LMI toolbox in MATLAB easily.<h4>Conclusion</h4>If the synchronization robustness criterion, i.e. the synchronization robustness ? intrinsic robustness + extrinsic robustness, then the stochastic coupled synthetic oscillators can be robustly synchronized in spite of intrinsic parameter fluctuation and extrinsic noise. If the synchronization robustness criterion is violated, external control scheme by adding inducer can be designed to improve synchronization robustness of coupled synthetic genetic oscillators. The investigated robust synchronization criteria and proposed external control method are useful for a population of coupled synthetic networks with emergent synchronization behavior, especially for multi-cellular, engineered networks.