TitleMetabolic constraints drive self-organization of specialized cell groups.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsVarahan S, Walvekar A, Sinha V, Krishna S, Laxman S
Date Published2019 Jun 26

How phenotypically distinct states in isogenic cell populations appear and stably co-exist remains unresolved. We find that within a mature, clonal yeast colony developing in low glucose, cells arrange into metabolically disparate cell groups. Using this system, we model and experimentally identify metabolic constraints sufficient to drive such self-assembly. Beginning in a uniformly gluconeogenic state, cells exhibiting a contrary, high pentose phosphate pathway activity state, spontaneously appear and proliferate, in a spatially constrained manner. Gluconeogenic cells in the colony produce and provide a resource, which we identify as trehalose. Above threshold concentrations of external trehalose, cells switch to the new metabolic state and proliferate. A self-organized system establishes, where cells in this new state are sustained by trehalose consumption, which thereby restrains other cells in the trehalose producing, gluconeogenic state. Our work suggests simple physico-chemical principles that determine how isogenic cells spontaneously self-organize into structured assemblies in complimentary, specialized states.

Alternate JournalElife
PubMed ID31241462
Grant ListIA/I/14/2/501523 / / Wellcome Trust - DBT India Alliance /
IA/E/16/1/502996 / / Wellcome Trust - DBT India Alliance /