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Studying the effect of cell division on expression patterns of the segment polarity genes
 

Summary: Studying the effect of cell division on
expression patterns of the segment polarity genes
Madalena Chaves
and R´eka Albert
Abstract
The segment polarity gene family, and its gene regulatory network, is at the basis of Drosophila
embryonic development. The network's capacity for generating and robustly maintaining a specific gene
expression pattern has been investigated through mathematical modeling. The models have provided
several useful insights by suggesting essential network links, or uncovering the importance of the relative
timescales of different biological processes in the formation of the segment polarity genes' expression
patterns. But the developmental pattern formation process raises many other questions. Two of these
questions are analyzed here: the dependence of the signaling protein sloppy paired on the segment
polarity genes, and the effect of cell division on the segment polarity genes' expression patterns. This
study suggests that cell division increases the robustness of the segment polarity network with respect to
perturbations in biological processes.
1 Introduction
During the initial stages of development of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, three families of genes are
successively activated [1]: the gap genes, the pair-rule genes and the segment polarity genes. The resulting
gene expression patterns contribute to gradually break the symmetry of the fertilized egg and accompany
its transformation into a segmented embryo. Around stages 6 and 7 of embryonic development (i.e., around

  

Source: Albert, Réka - Departments of Biology & Physics, Pennsylvania State University
Chaves, Madalena - COMORE Projwcr, INRIA

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine