InterJournal Genetics, 238
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [238]
Submission Date: 981214
Revised On: 990216
Regulation of Cell Cycle and Gene Activity Patterns by Cell Shape: Evidence for Attractors in Real Regulatory Networks and the Selective Mode of Ce
Author(s): Sui Huang

Subject(s): BG.14, BG.15

Category: Brief Article


The physiological function of tissues requires a specific physical architecture generated by the differential growth behavior of cells. The latter is regulated by the activity of their genes. Thus, the structural and mechanical need at the macroscopic level must feed back onto the microscopic level of genetic information. We have experimentally demonstrated that variation of cell shape can regulate the switch between quiescence and cell growth (cell division cycle). This "non-specific", i.e. purely physical control parameter contains none of the specific information typically encoded by the molecular structure of biological messengers, yet it regulated coherent gene activity patterns consistent with attractor states of simulated networks. This finding supports the model that regulation of cellular functions is "selective" rather than "instructive" and provides experimental evidence for the existence of attractors of gene activity patterns in real regulatory networks. The link between the category of genetic information and that of physical reality in living systems demonstrated here opens a novel perspective in our effort to understand the genome-phenome relationship.

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