Artificial Life VI

Probing the Dynamics of Cell Differentiation in a Model of Drosophila Neurogenesis

George Marnellos
Sloan Center for Theoretical Neurobiology, The Salk Institute

Eric Mjolsness
Machine Learning Systems Group, Jet Propulsion Laboratory


We have formulated a computational model of Drosophila early neurogenesis, the process by which neuroblasts and sensory organ precursor (SOP) cells differentiate from within proneural clusters of cells. The model includes intracellular gene regulatory interactions as well as lateral cell-cell signaling. It makes predictions about how the interplay of factors like proneural cluster shape and size, gene expression levels, and strength of cell-cell signaling determines the timing and position of appearance of neuroblasts and SOP cells; and about the robustness of this process and the effects of gene product level perturbations on cell differentiation.

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