8th Annual Symposium
Physics of Cancer
Leipzig, Germany
October 4-6, 2017
Invited Talk
Control of mechanochemical self-organization during cell polarization
Stephan W. Grill
Biotechnology Center TU Dresden, Tatzberg 47/49, 01307 Dresden, Germany
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Biological pattern formation often relies on self-organization, integrating chemical with mechanical patterning processes. Guiding cues ensure that the correct pattern forms at the right time and place, but how they control processes of self-organization to steer pattern formation remains unknown. Here we investigate PAR polarity establishment in C. elegans zygotes, by combining measurements of the spatial distribution of protein numbers and fluxes with a physical theory. We characterize the handover from a pre-pattern to mechanochemical self-organization, and find that guiding cues from the centrosome steer a patterning system comprised of PAR proteins and the actomyosin cortex to a transition point beyond which the patterned state becomes self-organized. This mechanism of controlled pattern formation integrates mechanical and molecular aspects of biological pattern formation with guiding cues.
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