Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mohammad Moad,
Dr Rakesh Heer
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
© 2017 The Author(s) The morphogenesis of branched organs remains a subject of abiding interest. Although much is known about the underlying signaling pathways, it remains unclear how macroscopic features of branched organs, including their size, network topology, and spatial patterning, are encoded. Here, we show that, in mouse mammary gland, kidney, and human prostate, these features can be explained quantitatively within a single unifying framework of branching and annihilating random walks. Based on quantitative analyses of large-scale organ reconstructions and proliferation kinetics measurements, we propose that morphogenesis follows from the proliferative activity of equipotent tips that stochastically branch and randomly explore their environment but compete neutrally for space, becoming proliferatively inactive when in proximity with neighboring ducts. These results show that complex branched epithelial structures develop as a self-organized process, reliant upon a strikingly simple but generic rule, without recourse to a rigid and deterministic sequence of genetically programmed events.
Author(s): Hannezo E, Scheele CLGJ, Moad M, Drogo N, Heer R, Sampogna RV, van Rheenen J, Simons BD
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 21/09/2017
Online publication date: 21/09/2017
Acceptance date: 15/08/2017
ISSN (print): 0092-8674
ISSN (electronic): 1097-4172
Publisher: Cell Press
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