Trade-off between reducing mutational accumulation and increasing commitment to differentiation determines tissue organization

2022. 04. 12. 14:30
BME building F, 2nd floor, lecture hall 13
Gergely Szöllősi (ELTE)

Species-specific differences control cancer risk across orders of magnitude variation in body size and lifespan, e.g., by varying the copy numbers of tumor suppressor genes. It is unclear, however, how different tissues within an organism can control somatic evolution despite being subject to markedly different constraints, but sharing the same genome. Hierarchical differentiation, characteristic of self-renewing tissues, can restrain somatic evolution both by limiting divisional load, thereby reducing mutation accumulation, and by increasing cells’ commitment to differentiation, which can “wash out” mutants. Here, we explore the organization of hierarchical tissues that have evolved to limit their lifetime incidence of cancer. Estimating the likelihood of cancer in the presence of mutations that enhance self-proliferation, we demonstrate that a trade-off exists between mutation accumulation and the strength of washing out. Our results explain differences in the organization of widely different hierarchical tissues, such as colon and blood.