Effects of developmental variability on the dynamics and self-organization of cell populations

Kaumudi H. Prabhakara, Azam Gholami, Vladimir S. Zykov, Eberhard Bodenschatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report experimental and theoretical results for spatiotemporal pattern formation in cell populations, where the parameters vary in space and time due to mechanisms intrinsic to the system, namely Dictyostelium discoideum (D.d.) in the starvation phase. We find that different patterns are formed when the populations are initialized at different developmental stages, or when populations at different initial developmental stages are mixed. The experimentally observed patterns can be understood with a modified Kessler-Levine model that takes into account the initial spatial heterogeneity of the cell populations and a developmental path introduced by us, i.e. the time dependence of the various biochemical parameters. The dynamics of the parameters agree with known biochemical studies. Most importantly, the modified model reproduces not only our results, but also the observations of an independent experiment published earlier. This shows that pattern formation can be used to understand and quantify the temporal evolution of the system parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113024
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Dictyostelium discoideum
  • developmental variability
  • modified KesslerLevine model
  • pattern formation
  • spirals and targets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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