Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


New publication in Molecular Biology of the Cell for Charras and Banerjee Labs

20 September 2017



Local cellular neighbourhood controls proliferation in cell competition

Cell competition is a quality control mechanism through which tissues eliminate unfit cells. Cell competition can result from short-range biochemical inductions or long-range mechanical cues. However, little is known about how cell-scale interactions give rise to population shifts in tissues, due to the lack of experimental and computational tools to efficiently characterise interactions at the single-cell level. Here, we address these challenges by combining long-term automated microscopy with deep learning image analysis to decipher how single-cell behaviour determines tissue make-up during competition. Using our high-throughput analysis pipeline, we show that competitive interactions between MDCK wild-type cells and cells depleted of the polarity protein scribble are governed by differential sensitivity to local density and the cell-type of each cell's neighbours. We find that local density has a dramatic effect on the rate of division and apoptosis under competitive conditions. Strikingly, our analysis reveals that proliferation of the winner cells is upregulated in neighbourhoods mostly populated by loser cells. These data suggest that tissue-scale population shifts are strongly affected by cellular-scale tissue organisation. We present a quantitative mathematical model that demonstrates the effect of neighbour cell-type dependence of apoptosis and division in determining the fitness of competing cell lines.

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Charras Lab

Banerjee Lab