Editors' ChoiceDevelopmental Biology

Cell Competition and Immunity

Sci. Signal.  09 Dec 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 355, pp. ec345
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa4294

Even in what appears to be homogeneous tissue, cell variability exists. The presence of mutant cells can compromise the functional integrity of a tissue and ultimately the organism's health. Cell competition is an internal cell surveillance mechanism that monitors cell fitness to eliminate compromised cells and prevent them from contributing to the tissue. However, how cells recognize fitness differences has remained elusive. Meyer et al. report that this recognition uses signaling pathways from the innate immune response system. Cell-cell differences in fitness activate distinct NF-κB/Rel factors in the weaker population that lead to activation of distinct pro-apoptotic genes, leading to cell death in the losing cells.

S. N. Meyer, M. Amoyel, C. Bergantiños, C. de la Cova, C. Schertel, K. Basler, L. A. Johnston, An ancient defense system eliminates unfit cells from developing tissues during cell competition. Science 346, 1258236 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]

G. Morata, L. Ballesteros-Arias, Death to the losers. Science 346, 1181–1182 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]