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Embryonic morphogenesis is organized by an interplay between intercellular signaling and cell movements. Both intercellular signaling and cell movement involve multiple timescales. A key timescale for signaling is the time delay caused by preparation of signaling molecules and integration of received signals into cells' internal state. Movement of cells relative to their neighbors may introduce exchange of positions between cells during signaling. When cells change their relative positions in a tissue, the impact of signaling delays on intercellular signaling increases because the delayed information that cells receive may significantly differ from the present state of the tissue. The time it takes to perform a neighbor exchange sets a timescale of cell mixing that may be important for the outcome of signaling. Here we review recent theoretical work on the interplay of timescales between cell mixing and signaling delays adopting the zebrafish segmentation clock as a model system. We discuss how this interplay can lead to spatial patterns of gene expression that could disrupt the normal formation of segment boundaries in the embryo. The effect of cell mixing and signaling delays highlights the importance of theoretical and experimental frameworks to understand collective cellular behaviors arising from the interplay of multiple timescales in embryonic developmental processes.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Seminars in cell & developmental biology
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The analysis of a chemical substance by inserting a sample into a carrier stream of reagent using a sample injection valve that propels the sample downstream where mixing occurs in a coiled tube, then passes into a flow-through detector and a recorder or other data handling device.
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