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.
Photo by Harry Quan on Unsplash
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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