Cell competition corrects noisy Wnt morphogen gradients to achieve robust patterning

Yuki Akieda, Shohei Ogamino, Hironobu Furuie, Shizuka Ishitani, Ryutaro Akiyoshi, Jumpei Nogami, Takamasa Masuda, Nobuyuki Shimizu, Yasuyuki Ohkawa, and Tohru Ishitani

Sep 27, 2018

Received Date: 3rd September 2018

Morphogen signaling forms an activity gradient and instructs cell identities in a signaling strength-dependent manner to pattern developing tissues. However, developing tissues also undergo dynamic morphogenesis, which may produce cells with unfit morphogen signaling and consequent noisy morphogen gradient. Here we show that a cell competition-related system corrects such noisy morphogen gradients. Zebrafish imaging analyses of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling-gradient, which acts as a morphogen to establish embryonic anterior- posterior patterning, revealed that unfit cells with abnormal Wnt/β-catenin activity spontaneously appear and produce noise in the Wnt/β-catenin-gradient. Communication between the unfit and neighboring fit cells via cadherin proteins stimulates the apoptosis of the unfit cells by activating Smad signaling and reactive oxygen species production. This unfit cell elimination is required for proper Wnt/β-catenin-gradient formation and consequent anterior-posterior patterning. Because this gradient controls patterning not only in the embryo but also in adult tissues, this system may support tissue robustness and disease prevention.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

Nature Communications

Nature Research, Springer Nature