Random cell movement promotes synchronization of the segmentation clock

Koichiro Uriu, Yoshihiro Morishita, Yoh Iwasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


In vertebrate somitogenesis, the expression of segmentation clock genes oscillates and the oscillation is synchronized over nearby cells. Both experimental and theoretical studies have shown that the synchronization among cells is realized by intercellular interaction via Delta-Notch signaling. However, the following questions emerge: (i) During somitogenesis, dynamic rearrangement of relative cell positions is observed in the posterior presomitic mesoderm. Can a synchronized state be stably sustained under random cell movement? (ii) Experimental studies have reported that the synchronization of cells can be recovered in about 10 or fewer oscillation cycles after the complete loss of synchrony. However, such a quick recovery of synchronization is not possible according to previous theoretical models. In this paper, we first show by numerical modeling that synchronized oscillation can be sustained under random cell movement. We also find that for initial perturbation, the synchronization of cells is recovered much faster and it is for a wider range of reaction parameters than the case without cell movement. When the posterior presomitic mesoderm is rectangular, faster synchronization is achieved if cells exchange their locations more with neighbors located along the longer side of the domain. Finally,we discuss that the enhancement of synchronization by random cell movement occurs in several different models for the oscillation of segmentation clock genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4979-4984
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Mar 16 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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