The Francis Crick Institute
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From local resynchronization to global pattern recovery in the zebrafish segmentation clock

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-03-31, 11:59 authored by Koichiro Uriu, Bo-Kai Liao, Andrew C Oates, Luis G Morelli
Integrity of rhythmic spatial gene expression patterns in the vertebrate segmentation clock requires local synchronization between neighboring cells by Delta-Notch signaling and its inhibition causes defective segment boundaries. Whether deformation of the oscillating tissue complements local synchronization during patterning and segment formation is not understood. We combine theory and experiment to investigate this question in the zebrafish segmentation clock. We remove a Notch inhibitor, allowing resynchronization, and analyze embryonic segment recovery. We observe unexpected intermingling of normal and defective segments, and capture this with a new model combining coupled oscillators and tissue mechanics. Intermingled segments are explained in the theory by advection of persistent phase vortices of oscillators. Experimentally observed changes in recovery patterns are predicted in the theory by temporal changes in tissue length and cell advection pattern. Thus, segmental pattern recovery occurs at two length and time scales: rapid local synchronization between neighboring cells, and the slower transport of the resulting patterns across the tissue through morphogenesis.


Crick (Grant ID: 10124, Grant title: Oates FC001124)