Constraints Shape Cell Function and Morphology by Canalizing the Developmental Path along the Waddington's Landscape

Mariano Bizzarri, Alessandro Giuliani, Mirko Minini, Noemi Monti, Alessandra Cucina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Studies performed in absence of gravitational constraint show that a living system is unable to choose between two different phenotypes, thus leading cells to segregate into different, alternative stable states. This finding demonstrates that the genotype does not determine by itself the phenotype but requires additional, physical constraints to finalize cell differentiation. Constraints belong to two classes: holonomic (independent of the system's dynamical states, as being established by the space-time geometry of the field) and non-holonomic (modified during those biological processes to which they contribute in shaping). This latter kind of “constraints”, in which dynamics works on the constraint to recreate them, have emerged as critical determinants of self-organizing systems, by manifesting a “closure of constraints.” Overall, the constraints act by harnessing the “randomness” represented by the simultaneous presence of equiprobable events restraining the system within one attractor. These results cast doubt on the mainstream scientific concept and call for a better understanding of causation in cell biology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900108
JournalBioEssays
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020

Keywords

  • cell fate commitment
  • constraints
  • self-organizing systems
  • symmetry breaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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