A computational model for eukaryotic directional sensing

Andrea Gamba, Antonio De Candia, Fausto Cavalli, Stefano Di Talia, Antonio Coniglio, Federico Bussolino, Guido Serini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Many eukaryotic cell types share the ability to migrate directionally in response to external chemoattractant gradients. This ability is central in the development of complex organisms, and is the result of billion years of evolution. Cells exposed to shallow gradients in chemoattractant concentration respond with strongly asymmetric accumulation of several signaling factors, such as phosphoinositides and enzymes. This early symmetry-breaking stage is believed to trigger effector pathways leading to cell movement. Although many factors implied in directional sensing have been recently discovered, the physical mechanism of signal amplification is not yet well understood. We have proposed that directional sensing is the consequence of a phase ordering process mediated by phosphoinositide diffusion and driven by the distribution of chemotactic signal. By studying a realistic computational model that describes enzymatic activity, recruitment to the plasmamembrane, and diffusion of phosphoinositide products we have shown that the effective enzyme-enzyme interaction induced by catalysis and diffusion introduces an instability of the system towards phase separation for realistic values of physical parameters. In this framework, large reversible amplification of shallow chemotactic gradients, selective localization of chemical factors, macroscopic response timescales, and spontaneous polarization arise.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Pages184-195
Number of pages12
Volume4210 LNBI
ISBN (Print)3540461663, 9783540461661
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventInternational Conference on Computational Methods in Systems Biology, CMSB 2006 - Trento, Italy
Duration: Oct 18 2006Oct 19 2006

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume4210 LNBI
ISSN (Print)03029743
ISSN (Electronic)16113349

Other

OtherInternational Conference on Computational Methods in Systems Biology, CMSB 2006
CountryItaly
CityTrento
Period10/18/0610/19/06

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Theoretical Computer Science

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