How phenotypically distinct states in isogenic cell populations appear and stably co-exist remains unresolved. We find that within a mature, clonal yeast colony developing in low glucose, cells arrange into metabolically disparate cell groups. Using this system, we model and experimentally identify metabolic constraints sufficient to drive such self-assembly. Beginning in a uniformly gluconeogenic state, cells exhibiting a contrary, high pentose phosphate pathway activity state, spontaneously appear and proliferate, in a spatially constrained manner. Gluconeogenic cells in the colony produce and provide a resource, which we identify as trehalose. Above threshold concentrations of external trehalose, cells switch to the new metabolic state and proliferate. A self-organized system establishes, where cells in this new state are sustained by trehalose consumption, which thereby restrains other cells in the trehalose producing, gluconeogenic state. Our work suggests simple physico-chemical principles that determine how isogenic cells spontaneously self-organize into structured assemblies in complimentary, specialized states.
All data in this study are generated by computational simulations. All model parameters and equations are included in the manuscript and source code is included with this submission.
- Sunil Laxman
- Vaibhhav Sinha
- Sandeep Krishna
- Sriram Varahan
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Kevin J Verstrepen, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology, Belgium
© 2019, Varahan et al.
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