Editors' ChoiceSystems Biology

Modeling Planar Cell Polarity

Science's STKE  25 Jan 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 268, pp. tw39
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2682005tw39

Epithelial cells of many organisms show planar cell polarity. In the Drosophila wing, hexagonally packed cells accumulate various planar cell polarity signaling components in localized areas (proximally or distally), and an actin-rich hair develops from the distal vertex and points distally. Although several molecular components for this patterning have been elucidated, the complexity in number of factors and their various interactions, including the effects of neighboring cells on each other, has hindered a full understanding of planar cell polarity. Amonlirdviman et al. now combine biology and mathematical modeling to address the complex phenotypes produced by genetic manipulations. The model incorporates transcellular interactions between membrane proteins and is based on reaction-diffusion and partial differential equations. This mathematical model shows how contact-dependent signaling can account for the effect a mutant cell can have on the phenotype of a neighboring cell.

K. Amonlirdviman, N. A. Khare, D. R. P. Tree, W.-S. Chen, J. D. Axelrod, C. J. Tomlin, Mathematical modeling of planar cell polarity to understand domineering nonautonomy. Science 307, 423-426 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]