The space inside the eggs governs the first few steps of life

Keep in mind the difference: the space inside the eggs governs the first few steps of life

Researchers at the University of Kyoto’s Kanagawa Institute of Technology and the National Institute of Genetics have now precisely modeled the shape of eggshells to show how the space in the egg and the contours of the shell guide the relative positions of cells in the growing embryo. Their findings may provide a theoretical basis for directing stem cell development into larger tissues and organs. Credit: Kyoto University / Sungrim Seirin-Lee

Imagine sitting in a meeting where the shape of the table and your place on it can affect how you get along with other members. The cells also communicate with their closest neighbors, and in the case of embryos, nothing is left to chance in the “seating plan” for the first few cells. However, questions remain about how this process is controlled and how it can affect the overall growth of the body.

Based on previous studies on the development of worm eggs, researchers at Kanagawa Institute of Technology at Kyoto University and the National Institute of Genetics have now precisely modeled the shape of eggshells to show how egg space and shell contours guide relative cell positions in the growing embryo. Their findings may provide a theoretical basis for directing stem cell development into larger tissues and organs.

Lead author Professor Sungrim Seyrin-Lee of the Kyoto University’s Institute for Advanced Study of Human Biology (WPI-ASHBi) said: the spaces of the egg. But the T-reverse arrangements we found did not match our previous calculations based on cell attraction and egg side ratio. We realized that something was missing in our model. “

When examining the eggs of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans under a microscope, the team previously noticed that in eggs with a longer shape, the first four cells are arranged in a line; in contrast, if the shell were round, the cells would gather. They also identified an unexplained pattern of “T-twists” in some eggs, where three cells come together, making a T-shaped gap with one cell in line at the end.

The team suggested that the formation of this pattern could be controlled by variations in the contours of the eggshell. To test this, they applied a more sophisticated mathematical model of the “phase field” that could more accurately account for the actual shape of the egg measured by worms. This new model successfully replicated previous discoveries and now also explains the inexplicable T-back arrangement. The results show for the first time that previously ignored local contours of the egg affect cell patterns.

In the new way of looking at the embryo, it turns out that “the space inside the egg” is actually a key factor driving cell models. To further test this concept, researchers are studying worm eggs that have been genetically modified to allow more room for cells inside. With an extra room, the first four cells preferred to be scattered in a line instead of coming together.

Seirin-Lee said: “The shells of worm eggs are often treated as a simple oval shape, but the actual form in some cases it may be closer to a capsule. We now understand how important geometric constraints and directing space are cellsand this concept also applies to human cells. We hope that this work will lead us to better cope with artificial control cell differentiation and enhancing the capabilities of stem cell techniques. “

The article “Extraembryonic space and the local contour are critical geometric constraints governing the arrangement of cells” was published on May 12, 2022 in the journal Development.


The new technique can provide a powerful insight into early cell differentiation


More information:
Sungrim Seirin-Lee et al, Extra-embryonic space and local contour are crucial geometric constraints that regulate cell arrangement, Development (2022). DOI: 10.1242 / dev.200401

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Kyoto University


Quote: Keep in mind the gap: The space inside the eggs governs the first few steps of life (2022, May 12), extracted on May 13, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-05-mind-gap- space-eggs-life.html

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