Many roads to symmetry breaking: Molecular mechanisms and theoretical models of yeast cell polarity

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Abstract / Description of output

Mathematical modeling has been instrumental in identifying common principles of cell polarity across diverse systems. These principles include positive feedback loops that are required to destabilize a spatially uniform state of the cell. Conserved small G-protein Cdc42 is a master regulator of eukaryotic cellular polarization. Here we discuss recent developments in studies of Cdc42 polarization in budding and fission yeasts and demonstrate that models describing symmetry-breaking polarization can be classified into six minimal classes based on the structure of positive feedback loops that activate and localize Cdc42. Due to their generic system-independent nature, these model classes are also likely to be relevant for the G-protein-based symmetry breaking systems of higher eukaryotes. We review experimental evidence pro et contra different theoretically plausible models and conclude that several parallel and non-mutually-exclusive mechanisms are likely involved in cellular polarization of yeasts. This potential redundancy needs to be taken into consideration when interpreting the results of recent cell-rewiring studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-380
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

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