Despite continual renewal and damages, a multicellular organism is able to maintain its complex morphology. How is this stability compatible with the complexity and diversity of living forms? Looking for answers at protein level may be limiting as diverging protein sequences can result in similar morphologies. Inspired by the progressive role of apical-basal and planar cell polarity in development, we propose that stability, complexity, and diversity are emergent properties in populations of proliferating polarized cells. We support our hypothesis by a theoretical approach, developed to effectively capture both types of polar cell adhesions. When applied to specific cases of development – gastrulation and the origins of folds and tubes – our theoretical tool suggests experimentally testable predictions pointing to the strength of polar adhesion, restricted directions of cell polarities, and the rate of cell proliferation to be major determinants of morphological diversity and stability.
- Silas Boye Nissen
- Ala Trusina
- Kim Sneppen
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Aleksandra M Walczak, École Normale Supérieure, France
© 2018, Nissen et al.
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