Cellular interdependence and collective aspects of the epithelial phenotype : a quantitative and geometric analysis using optical gene activation

Abstract : Tissues and organisms are built from cells in which important phenotype decisions are made: division, differentiation, apoptosis, and transformation. Cell biology has strongly focused on deciphering the internal molecular determinants of these decisions, but external information originating from intercellular interactions are key elements to coordinate multicellular physiology. The extent to which internal determinants dominate over external determinants or vice versa, is an essential feature of the sociology of cell communities, with possibly strong individualistic situations, or dominant collective effect. The present work was designed to set-up a method for assessing the relative contribution of internal vs. external determinant, by opposing these two classes of inputs. This is achieved by challenging the collective stability of an in vitro epithelium using the heterogeneous induction of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) via the photoactivation of Snail1. The key results show that the transcriptional response of EMT-induced cells depends on the presence of non-induced cells in the culture. Conversely non-induced cells respond to the presence of induced cells. These mutual control effects lead to the notion that the geometry underlying the distribution of a given molecular cause strongly influences its consequence. Our work opens new perspectives for studying the sociology of heterogeneous cell communities, and better understand important phenomena such as phenotype suppression and or the onset of carcinogenesis.
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Perrine Miquel. Cellular interdependence and collective aspects of the epithelial phenotype : a quantitative and geometric analysis using optical gene activation. Cellular Biology. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016USPCB084⟩. ⟨tel-01816960⟩

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