Cellular organization in lab-evolved and extant multicellular species obeys a maximum entropy law.
Zamani-Dahaj, Seyed A
Honerkamp-Smith, Aurelia R
Sleath, Hannah R
Ratcliff, William C
eLife Sciences Publications Ltd
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Day, T. C., Höhn, S. S., Zamani-Dahaj, S. A., Yanni, D., Burnetti, A., Pentz, J., Honerkamp-Smith, A. R., et al. (2022). Cellular organization in lab-evolved and extant multicellular species obeys a maximum entropy law.. Elife https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.72707
The prevalence of multicellular organisms is due in part to their ability to form complex structures. How cells pack in these structures is a fundamental biophysical issue, underlying their functional properties. However, much remains unknown about how cell packing geometries arise, and how they are affected by random noise during growth - especially absent developmental programs. Here, we quantify the statistics of cellular neighborhoods of two different multicellular eukaryotes: lab-evolved 'snowflake' yeast and the green alga Volvox carteri. We find that despite large differences in cellular organization, the free space associated with individual cells in both organisms closely fits a modified gamma distribution, consistent with maximum entropy predictions originally developed for granular materials. This 'entropic' cellular packing ensures a degree of predictability despite noise, facilitating parent-offspring fidelity even in the absence of developmental regulation. Together with simulations of diverse growth morphologies, these results suggest that gamma-distributed cell neighborhood sizes are a general feature of multicellularity, arising from conserved statistics of cellular packing.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M017982/1)
Wellcome Trust (207510/Z/17/Z)
Embargo Lift Date
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.72707
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/332459
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/