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Cell lineage branching as a strategy for proliferative control

  • Author(s): Buzi, G
  • Lander, AD
  • Khammash, M
  • et al.
Abstract

© Buzi et al. Background: How tissue and organ sizes are specified is one of the great unsolved mysteries in biology. Experiments and mathematical modeling implicate feedback control of cell lineage progression, but a broad understanding of what lineage feedback accomplishes is lacking. Results: By exploring the possible effects of various biologically relevant disturbances on the dynamic and steady state behaviors of stem cell lineages, we find that the simplest and most frequently studied form of lineage feedback - which we term renewal control - suffers from several serious drawbacks. These reflect fundamental performance limits dictated by universal conservation-type laws, and are independent of parameter choice. Here we show that introducing lineage branches can circumvent all such limitations, permitting effective attenuation of a wide range of perturbations. The type of feedback that achieves such performance - which we term fate control - involves promotion of lineage branching at the expense of both renewal and (primary) differentiation. We discuss the evidence that feedback of just this type occurs in vivo, and plays a role in tissue growth control. Conclusions: Regulated lineage branching is an effective strategy for dealing with disturbances in stem cell systems. The existence of this strategy provides a dynamics-based justification for feedback control of cell fate in vivo.

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