Stochastic loss and gain of symmetric divisions in the C. elegans epidermis perturbs robustness of stem cell number.

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Title: Stochastic loss and gain of symmetric divisions in the C. elegans epidermis perturbs robustness of stem cell number.
Authors: Katsanos, D
Koneru, SL
Mestek Boukhibar, L
Gritti, N
Ghose, R
Appleford, PJ
Doitsidou, M
Woollard, A
Van Zon, JS
Poole, RJ
Barkoulas, M
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Biological systems are subject to inherent stochasticity. Nevertheless, development is remarkably robust, ensuring the consistency of key phenotypic traits such as correct cell numbers in a certain tissue. It is currently unclear which genes modulate phenotypic variability, what their relationship is to core components of developmental gene networks, and what is the developmental basis of variable phenotypes. Here, we start addressing these questions using the robust number of Caenorhabditis elegans epidermal stem cells, known as seam cells, as a readout. We employ genetics, cell lineage tracing, and single molecule imaging to show that mutations in lin-22, a Hes-related basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor, increase seam cell number variability. We show that the increase in phenotypic variability is due to stochastic conversion of normally symmetric cell divisions to asymmetric and vice versa during development, which affect the terminal seam cell number in opposing directions. We demonstrate that LIN-22 acts within the epidermal gene network to antagonise the Wnt signalling pathway. However, lin-22 mutants exhibit cell-to-cell variability in Wnt pathway activation, which correlates with and may drive phenotypic variability. Our study demonstrates the feasibility to study phenotypic trait variance in tractable model organisms using unbiased mutagenesis screens.
Issue Date: 6-Nov-2017
Date of Acceptance: 20-Oct-2017
ISSN: 1544-9173
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Journal / Book Title: PLoS Biology
Volume: 15
Issue: 11
Copyright Statement: © 2017 Katsanos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences
11 Medical And Health Sciences
07 Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences
Developmental Biology
Publication Status: Published online
Article Number: e2002429
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Natural Sciences

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