Editors' ChoiceCell Biology

Modeling Subcellular Morphogenesis

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Science Signaling  25 Nov 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 47, pp. ec408
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.147ec408

Within cells during mitosis, the subcellular architecture, particularly the arrangement of cellular microtubules, is substantially remodeled to promote the faithful segregation of chromosomes to daughter cells. Athale et al. report how enzymatic networks self-organize around chromosomes to affect the symmetry of the stochastic dynamics of microtubules nucleated by centrosomes in an open cell cytoplasm (frog egg extracts). A theoretical model shows how a true reaction diffusion mechanism can generate complex steady-state patterns of microtubules from enzymatic reactions. The coupling of a stochastic system (microtubule dynamics) and a deterministic regulatory gradient may thus provide a generic mechanism for subcellular morphogenesis.

C. A. Athale, A. Dinarina, M. Mora-Coral, C. Pugieux, F. Nedelec, E. Karsenti, Regulation of microtubule dynamics by reaction cascades around chromosomes. Science 322, 1243–1247 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]