Single cell analysis reveals a biophysical aspect of collective cell-state transition in embryonic stem cell differentiation.

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Single cell analysis reveals a biophysical aspect of collective cell-state transition in embryonic stem cell differentiation.

Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 10;8(1):11965

Authors: Okamoto K, Germond A, Fujita H, Furusawa C, Okada Y, Watanabe TM

Abstract
In the stem cell research field, the molecular regulatory network used to define cellular states has been extensively studied, however, the general driving force guiding the collective state dynamics remains to be identified from biophysical aspects. Here we monitored the time-development of the cell-state transition at the single-cell and colony levels, simultaneously, during the early differentiation process in mouse embryonic stem cells. Our quantitative analyses revealed that cellular heterogeneity was a result of spontaneous fluctuation of cellular state and cell-cell cooperativity. We considered that the cell state is like a ball fluctuating on a potential landscape, and found that the cooperativity affects the fluctuation. Importantly, the cooperativity temporarily decreased and increased in the intermediate state of cell differentiation, leading to cell-state transition in unison. This process can be explained using the mathematical equation of flashing-ratchet behaviour, which suggests that a general mechanism is driving the collective decision-making of stem cells.

PMID: 30097661 [PubMed – in process]

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