Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Molecular mechanisms responsible for the generation of Turing patterns

"The reaction–diffusion system is one of the most studied nonlinear mechanisms that generate spatially periodic structures autonomous. On the basis of many mathematical studies using computer simulations, it is assumed that animal skin patterns are the most typical examples of the Turing pattern (stationary periodic pattern produced by the reaction–diffusion system). However, the mechanism underlying pattern formation remains unknown because the molecular or cellular basis of the phenomenon has yet to be identified. In this study, we identified the interaction network between the pigment cells of zebrafish, and showed that this interaction network possesses the properties necessary to form the Turing pattern. When the pigment cells in a restricted region were killed with laser treatment, new pigment cells developed to regenerate the striped pattern. We also found that the development and survival of the cells were influenced by the positioning of the surrounding cells. When melanophores and xanthophores were located at adjacent positions, these cells excluded one another. However, melanophores required a mass of xanthophores distributed in a more distant region for both differentiation and survival. Interestingly, the local effect of these cells is opposite to that of their effects long range. This relationship satisfies the necessary conditions required for stable pattern formation in the reaction–diffusion model. Simulation calculations for the deduced network generated wild-type pigment patterns as well as other mutant patterns. Our findings here allow further investigation of Turing pattern formation within the context of cell biology.". Interactions between zebrafish pigment cells responsible for the generation of Turing patterns — PNAS

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