A STOCHASTIC 1D NEAREST-NEIGHBOUR AUTOMATON MODELS THE EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF THE BROWN ALGA ECTOCARPUS SILICULOSUS.
Billoud B, Le Bail A and Charrier B.
Early development of the filamentous brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus (Dillwyn) Lyngbye involves two cell types that are arranged in a polymorphic, but constrained, pattern. The present study aimed to decipher the cellular processes responsible for the establishment of this pattern. Thorough observations characterised five different events of division and differentiation that occurred during the early development. The hypothesis that a local control is responsible for these processes was tested. To do so, Ectomat, a stochastic automaton in which each cell only interacts with its closest neighbour(s), was created. The probabilities for the five events were adjusted to fit to the observations. Simulations with Ectomat reconstructed most of the essential properties of the sporophyte development, in terms of cell-type proportion, relative position and growth dynamics. The whole organism properties emerged by applying local transition rules. In conclusion, no global position information system was required at this development stage. Randomly occurring cell events, driven by simple contact interactions, are sufficient to account for the early filament development and establishment of the cell-type pattern of E. siliculosus.