What is it about?

The development of a cell within an organism is complex, and responds to many input signals to give the cell a distinct identity, a process referred to as cell-fate specification. Some of these cell fates have binary on-or-off gene expression patterns, while others have graded gene expression that changes across the tissue. Development of photoreceptor cells that sense light in the mouse retina provide a good example of this process. Here, we explore how complex patterns of cell fates are specified in the mouse retina by building a computational model based on analysis of a large number of photoreceptor cells in whole mouse retinas. We use the data and the model to study what it means for a cell to have a binary or graded cell fate and how these cell fates can be distinguished from each other.

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Why is it important?

Our study shows how tens-of-thousands of individual photoreceptor cells can be patterned across a complex tissue by a regulatory network, creating a different outcome depending upon the received inputs.

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This page is a summary of: Modeling binary and graded cone cell fate patterning in the mouse retina, PLoS Computational Biology, March 2020, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007691.
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