Multicellular systems

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Phase separation phenomena have emerged as being of critical importance in biology. Here, using colony formation in C. elegans as model, the authors demonstrate that the basic concepts that underpin phase separation at a molecular level also apply to collective phenomena at the level of a population of organisms.

    • Yuping Chen
    •  & James E. Ferrell Jr.
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Phase response curves reveal how biological clocks respond to stimuli applied during different circadian phases but can be costly to produce. Here Masuda et al. show that phase response curves for plants can be reconstructed by monitoring how a desynchronized population responds to a single stimulus.

    • Kosaku Masuda
    • , Isao T. Tokuda
    •  & Hirokazu Fukuda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In naturally occurring microbial systems, there is a positive relationship between species diversity and productivity of the community. Here the authors perform model selection to find potential amensal interactions that yield robust stable synthetic microbial consortia.

    • Behzad D. Karkaria
    • , Alex J. H. Fedorec
    •  & Chris P. Barnes
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The periodic organization of cells is typically associated with mechanisms based on intercellular signaling such as lateral inhibition and Turing patterning. Here the authors show that hair cells in the inner ear rearrange gradually into a checkerboard-like pattern through a tissue-wide shear motion that coordinates intercalation and delamination events.

    • Roie Cohen
    • , Liat Amir-Zilberstein
    •  & David Sprinzak
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Single cell expression data allows for inferring cell-cell communication between cells expressing ligands and those expressing their cognate receptors. Here the authors present an updated and curated database of ligand-receptor pairs and a Python-based toolkit to construct and analyse communication networks from single cell and bulk expression data.

    • Rui Hou
    • , Elena Denisenko
    •  & Alistair R. R. Forrest
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Swimming bacteria perform collective motion at high cell density, yet it is unclear how this behaviour affects their ability to follow substance gradients in the environment. Here, Colin et al. address this question by studying motion of Escherichia coli in controlled chemical gradients.

    • Remy Colin
    • , Knut Drescher
    •  & Victor Sourjik
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How heterogeneities arise in stem cell populations remains unclear. Here, Glen et al. find that in ESC colonies cell cycle asynchronies modulate gap junctions, causing variation in intracellular signalling molecule diffusion between cells, and ultimately in spatial heterogeneity in differentiation.

    • Chad M. Glen
    • , Todd C. McDevitt
    •  & Melissa L. Kemp
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Iridophores interact with other cells to give zebrafish their stripes, but what drives their form shifts is unknown. Here, modelling allows the authors to identify robust cues that may specify iridophore form and to find changes to these cues that likely account for altered patterns on related fish.

    • Alexandria Volkening
    •  & Björn Sandstede