Modeling morphogen gradient formation
Much of the analytical modeling of morphogen profiles is based on the simplistic scenarios of an exponential steady state profile originated from a point-like source. In a recent work, we developed a general formalism allowing to model diffusive gradient formation from an arbitrary realistically shaped source. We illustrate the theory with the explicit example of the Bicoid gradient establishment in Drosophila embryos and we investigate quantitatively the influence of spatial extension and time evolution of the source on the morphogen profile. We show that
(1) extended sources give rise to more realistic gradients which are fully compatible with a decreasing exponential behavior at steady steady state.
(2) in the case of a dynamic source (e.g. bicoid mRNA diffusion), a protein profile similar to the ones obtained from static sources can be achieved.
The paper entitled "Modeling morphogen gradient formation from arbitrary realistically shaped sources" was published in Journal of Theoretical Biology on 10 November 2011.