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CollectiveDynamics SIGNED

Collective signaling oscillations in embryonic patterning – revealing underlying principles

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 CollectiveDynamics project word cloud

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periodically    et    emergence    entrainment    perturbations    underlying    axis    model    oscillation    versatile    decode    optogenetics    governed    expand    synchronization    significance    position    precise    vitro    discoveries    emergent    collective    strategy    outlined    segmentation    machinery    previously    wave    relative    builds    waves    period    al    presomitic    tsiairis    embryo    1997    principles    patterns    cells    embryos    wnt    vivo    entrain    sweep    linked    clock    mesoderm    sonnen    molecular    2018    questions    erc    hours    critical    periodic    experimental    fish    signalling    oscillatory    timing    phenomenon    line    2016    shown    combine    palmeirim    mouse    notch    oscillations    functional    psm    made    display    first    genetic    assays       fgf    vertebrate    time    dynamics    quantitative    aulehla    ways    central    proper    medaka    conceptually    fundamental    embryonic    discovery    yield    patterning    signaling    expertise   

Project "CollectiveDynamics" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Meyerhofstrasse 1
postcode: 69117

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Total cost 2˙153˙310 €
 EC max contribution 2˙153˙310 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2019-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-09-01   to  2025-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

In this proposal, we study collective signaling oscillations during embryonic patterning. Signaling oscillations during vertebrate embryo segmentation are governed by a molecular oscillatory machinery referred to as segmentation clock (Palmeirim et al., 1997). The segmentation clock is linked to periodic activity of the Notch, Wnt and Fgf pathway in presomitic mesoderm (PSM) cells (period~2 hours in mouse embryos). Importantly, PSM cells display complex, collective synchronization and, as a result, wave-like activity patterns (phase waves) sweep periodically along the embryonic axis. We have previously shown that phase waves are an emergent and collective phenomenon in PSM cells (Tsiairis and Aulehla, 2016). Conceptually, this proposal builds on our previous discovery that the relative timing between Wnt/Notch oscillations is critical for proper mesoderm patterning (Sonnen et al., 2018). What are the principles underlying the emergence of collective synchronization and how do PSM cells decode relative timing of signalling oscillations? As outlined in this proposal, we are now in a unique position to address these fundamental questions in novel ways. Importantly, we have established an entrainment strategy that enables, for the first time, precise experimental control of oscillation dynamics (Sonnen et al., 2018). Our strategy is to further expand the entrainment approach, including the future use of optogenetics, and also combine it with our expertise in quantitative, multi-scale analysis of signalling dynamics and functional, genetic perturbations. A central aim of this ERC proposal is to build on discoveries made in versatile in vitro assays that we developed and to address their significance in vivo. To this end, we propose a novel line of research using the medaka fish model. We will entrain and challenge collective synchronization in vivo to address how signalling oscillations are integrated with growth dynamics to yield robust embryonic patterning.

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