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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Polarity and form regulation in development and reconstitution.

In the literature, it is often assumed, for example with respect to Hydra, that several Turing systems coexist and it is also assumed that maintaining the polar profile, even when the system increases in size, is important for the polarity of the final phenotype. It is shown here that in reality there is only one Turing system, Child's system. To obtain a complete polar individual or organ, whether in reconstitution or development, it is essential that the complete succession of metabolic patterns occurs. Child's concepts of physiological dominance, subordination and isolation are interpreted in the light of Turing theory and in particular the Turing wavelength. It is emphasised, particularly by pointing to Child's metabolic patterns in coelenterates, both in development and in reconstitution, that it is the elongation that drives the succession polar metabolic pattern-->bipolar metabolic pattern, and this corresponds to the prediction of Turing theory supporting the thesis that Child's metabolic pattern is a Turing pattern. It is shown that if we assume that ATP is the Turing inhibitor then the many results of Child about the reduction of the scale of organisation with the decrease in the intensity of the energy metabolism correspond to the reduction of the Turing wavelength. The interplay between the Turing wavelength and the length of the form explains the conditions of reconstitution under which partial forms, wholes and form regulation are obtained. It is suggested that higher metabolism is responsible for both larger size and larger Turing wavelength thus securing form regulation. The results could be of importance in modern 'regenerative biology'. Heteromorphosis, i.e. animals with two heads (or two tails), one at each end, is explained by a bipolar Turing-Child metabolic pattern replacing a polar metabolic pattern. This can be brought about by chemical or by genetic means and indeed the prediction for Drosophila that the transition, wild type-->Bicaudal D, occurs because a polar Turing pattern is replaced by bipolar Turing pattern is confirmed, again if we accept that Child's metabolic pattern is the underlying Turing pattern. Child's experiments on Drosophila, including the requirement of critical length for metabolic polarity, are explained by Turing theory. Phenocopies and phenotypes are explained by the Turing-Child theory. It is shown that both Child's results about metabolic patterns and modern results for Hydra about gap junctions, 'endogeneous inhibitor' and gene expression, are correlated and explained by (cAMP, ATP) Turing theory. It is argued that the double-gradient hypothesis is incorrect in its original formulation and that it is Child's conception of succeeding metabolic patterns that is the correct one and that it corresponds to the prediction of the Turing theory.[1]


  1. Polarity and form regulation in development and reconstitution. Schiffmann, Y. Prog. Biophys. Mol. Biol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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