A chemotaxis model of feather primordia pattern formation during avian development

Kevin J. Painter, William Ho, Denis J. Headon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The orderly formation of the avian feather array is a classic example of periodic pattern formation during embryonic development. Various mathematical models have been developed to describe this process, including Turing/activator-inhibitor type reaction-diffusion systems and chemotaxis/mechanical-based models based on cell movement and tissue interactions. In this paper we formulate a mathematical model founded on experimental findings, a set of interactions between the key cellular (dermal and epidermal cell populations) and molecular (fibroblast growth factor, FGF, and bone morphogenetic protein, BMP) players and a medially progressing priming wave that acts as the trigger to initiate patterning. Linear stability analysis is used to show that FGF-mediated chemotaxis of dermal cells is the crucial driver of pattern formation, while perturbations in the form of ubiquitous high BMP expression suppress patterning, consistent with experiments. Numerical simulations demonstrate the capacity of the model to pattern the skin in a spatial-temporal manner analogous to avian feather development. Further, experimental perturbations in the form of bead-displacement experiments are recapitulated and predictions are proposed in the form of blocking mesenchymal cell proliferation.
LanguageEnglish
Pages225-238
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume437
Early online date31 Oct 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - 21 Jan 2018

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Cells
Mathematical models
Linear stability analysis
Cell proliferation
Fibroblasts
Skin
Bone
Experiments
Tissue
Proteins
Computer simulation
Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins

Cite this

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abstract = "The orderly formation of the avian feather array is a classic example of periodic pattern formation during embryonic development. Various mathematical models have been developed to describe this process, including Turing/activator-inhibitor type reaction-diffusion systems and chemotaxis/mechanical-based models based on cell movement and tissue interactions. In this paper we formulate a mathematical model founded on experimental findings, a set of interactions between the key cellular (dermal and epidermal cell populations) and molecular (fibroblast growth factor, FGF, and bone morphogenetic protein, BMP) players and a medially progressing priming wave that acts as the trigger to initiate patterning. Linear stability analysis is used to show that FGF-mediated chemotaxis of dermal cells is the crucial driver of pattern formation, while perturbations in the form of ubiquitous high BMP expression suppress patterning, consistent with experiments. Numerical simulations demonstrate the capacity of the model to pattern the skin in a spatial-temporal manner analogous to avian feather development. Further, experimental perturbations in the form of bead-displacement experiments are recapitulated and predictions are proposed in the form of blocking mesenchymal cell proliferation.",
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A chemotaxis model of feather primordia pattern formation during avian development. / Painter, Kevin J.; Ho, William; Headon, Denis J.

In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 437, 21.01.2018, p. 225-238.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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