Interrogating cellular fate decisions with high-throughput arrays of multiplexed cellular communities

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Abstract

Recreating heterotypic cell-cell interactions in vitro is key to dissecting the role of cellular communication during a variety of biological processes. This is especially relevant for stem cell niches, where neighbouring cells provide instructive inputs that govern cell fate decisions. To investigate the logic and dynamics of cell-cell signalling networks, we prepared heterotypic cell-cell interaction arrays using DNA-programmed adhesion. Our platform specifies the number and initial position of up to four distinct cell types within each array and offers tunable control over cell-contact time during long-term culture. Here, we use the platform to study the dynamics of single adult neural stem cell fate decisions in response to competing juxtacrine signals. Our results suggest a potential signalling hierarchy between Delta-like 1 and ephrin-B2 ligands, as neural stem cells adopt the Delta-like 1 phenotype of stem cell maintenance on simultaneous presentation of both signals.

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Chen, S., Bremer, A. W., Scheideler, O. J., Na, Y. S., Todhunter, M. E., Hsiao, S., … Schaffer, D. V. (2016). Interrogating cellular fate decisions with high-throughput arrays of multiplexed cellular communities. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10309

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