Heterogeneity of Cell Fate Inducers

  • Lauren Harkin

    Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


    Pattern formation of multicellular organisms in the absence of positional signals is thought to occur due to scattered cells within a population having different response thresholds to uniform signalling molecules. The cell populations are genetically uniform but heterogeneities arise from differential gene expression that are expected to bias cells towards particular fates. This differential gene expression can affect cellular processes such as growth, cell cycle regulation and metabolism. The single celled amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum are thought to exhibit non-genetic heterogeneity within a population of clonal vegetative cells which later contributes to their fates in development. Upon starvation, Dictyostelium amoebae aggregate together to form the multicellular slug and culminant structures before becoming a fruiting body. The fruiting body consists of self-sacrificing stalk cells and viable spore cells. By altering the growth history of the cells and using RNA sequencing analysis, I aim to find heterogeneities that exist within these clonal cell populations. These differences in the gene expression profiles of cells are expected to contribute to the fate decisions made by cells at later stages of development.
    Date of Award1 Aug 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorChristopher Thompson (Supervisor) & Thomas Millard (Supervisor)


    • heterogeneity
    • gefe

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