Spatial regulation of cell differentiation in embryos can be provided by morphogen gradients, which are defined as the concentration fields of molecules that control gene expression. For example, a cell can use its surface receptors to measure the local concentration of an extracellular ligand and convert this information into a corresponding change in its transcriptional state. We characterize the time needed to establish a steady-state gradient in problems with diffusion and degradation of locally produced chemical signals. A relaxation function is introduced to describe how the morphogen concentration profile approaches its steady state. This function is used to obtain a local accumulation time that provides a time scale that characterizes relaxation to steady state at an arbitrary position within the patterned field. To illustrate the approach we derive local accumulation times for a number of commonly used models of morphogen gradient formation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics|
|State||Published - May 6 2011|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics