Chiral Asymmetry in Cells

A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994). This special issue belongs to the section "Chemistry: Symmetry/Asymmetry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019) | Viewed by 16618

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University, 1-1 Machikaneyama-cho, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043, Japan
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Dear Colleagues,

Most macromolecules found in cells are chiral (an object is chiral if it is distinguishable from its mirror image). Such molecular chirality plays pivotal roles in chemical reactions in cells. To what extent in the macroscopic levels can we observe chirality in cells? Various parts of cells, such as cilia and cytoskeletons, still demonstrate chirality in their structures and functions. Although chirality of a whole cell in eukaryotes has been awarded in protozoans, such as ciliates, chirality of a whole cell in metazoan has not been noticed until very recently. Recent studies showed that cells of various animals, including vertebrates, have intrinsic chirality in their structures and behaviours. Chiral asymmetry of cells is observed as chirality in shape, arrangement, locomotion, and intracellular flow. In addition, cell chirality is coupled with the left-right asymmetric development of animal body. For example, the chiral structure of blastomeres appears during spiral cleavage, which in turn determines the chirality of while body structure in snails. Importantly, accumulating evidences suggest that underlying mechanisms of cell chirality formation may be evolutionarily conserved across phyla. Based on these recent findings, now it is important to grasp the overview of chiral asymmetry of cells in various systems. Especially, special attention would be payed to the molecular mechanisms of cell chirality formation and biological roles of cell chirality.

Prof. Kenji Matsuno
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Cell chirality
  • Chiral asymmetry
  • Left-right asymmetry

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Review

11 pages, 1996 KiB  
Review
Cells with Broken Left–Right Symmetry: Roles of Intrinsic Cell Chirality in Left–Right Asymmetric Epithelial Morphogenesis
by Sosuke Utsunomiya, So Sakamura, Takeshi Sasamura, Tomoki Ishibashi, Chinami Maeda, Mikiko Inaki and Kenji Matsuno
Symmetry 2019, 11(4), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11040505 - 08 Apr 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3641
Abstract
Chirality is a fundamental feature in biology, from the molecular to the organismal level. An animal has chirality in the left–right asymmetric structure and function of its body. In general, chirality occurring at the molecular and organ/organism scales has been studied separately. However, [...] Read more.
Chirality is a fundamental feature in biology, from the molecular to the organismal level. An animal has chirality in the left–right asymmetric structure and function of its body. In general, chirality occurring at the molecular and organ/organism scales has been studied separately. However, recently, chirality was found at the cellular level in various species. This “cell chirality” can serve as a link between molecular chirality and that of an organ or animal. Cell chirality is observed in the structure, motility, and cytoplasmic dynamics of cells and the mechanisms of cell chirality formation are beginning to be understood. In all cases studied so far, proteins that interact chirally with F-actin, such as formin and myosin I, play essential roles in cell chirality formation or the switching of a cell’s enantiomorphic state. Thus, the chirality of F-actin may represent the ultimate origin of cell chirality. Links between cell chirality and left–right body asymmetry are also starting to be revealed in various animal species. In this review, the mechanisms of cell chirality formation and its roles in left–right asymmetric development are discussed, with a focus on the fruit fly Drosophila, in which many of the pioneering studies were conducted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chiral Asymmetry in Cells)
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10 pages, 1787 KiB  
Review
Mathematical Modeling of Tissue Folding and Asymmetric Tissue Flow during Epithelial Morphogenesis
by Tetsuya Hiraiwa, Fu-Lai Wen, Tatsuo Shibata and Erina Kuranaga
Symmetry 2019, 11(1), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11010113 - 19 Jan 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4787
Abstract
Recent studies have revealed that intrinsic, individual cell behavior can provide the driving force for deforming a two-dimensional cell sheet to a three-dimensional tissue without the need for external regulatory elements. However, whether intrinsic, individual cell behavior could actually generate the force to [...] Read more.
Recent studies have revealed that intrinsic, individual cell behavior can provide the driving force for deforming a two-dimensional cell sheet to a three-dimensional tissue without the need for external regulatory elements. However, whether intrinsic, individual cell behavior could actually generate the force to induce tissue deformation was unclear, because there was no experimental method with which to verify it in vivo. In such cases, mathematical modeling can be effective for verifying whether a locally generated force can propagate through an entire tissue and induce deformation. Moreover, the mathematical model sometimes provides potential mechanistic insight beyond the information obtained from biological experimental results. Here, we present two examples of modeling tissue morphogenesis driven by cell deformation or cell interaction. In the first example, a mathematical study on tissue-autonomous folding based on a two-dimensional vertex model revealed that active modulations of cell mechanics along the basal–lateral surface, in addition to the apical side, can induce tissue-fold formation. In the second example, by applying a two-dimensional vertex model in an apical plane, a novel mechanism of tissue flow caused by asymmetric cell interactions was discovered, which explained the mechanics behind the collective cellular movement observed during epithelial morphogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chiral Asymmetry in Cells)
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20 pages, 4041 KiB  
Review
Chiral Neuronal Motility: The Missing Link between Molecular Chirality and Brain Asymmetry
by Atsushi Tamada
Symmetry 2019, 11(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11010102 - 16 Jan 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 7622
Abstract
Left–right brain asymmetry is a fundamental property observed across phyla from invertebrates to humans, but the mechanisms underlying its formation are still largely unknown. Rapid progress in our knowledge of the formation of body asymmetry suggests that brain asymmetry might be controlled by [...] Read more.
Left–right brain asymmetry is a fundamental property observed across phyla from invertebrates to humans, but the mechanisms underlying its formation are still largely unknown. Rapid progress in our knowledge of the formation of body asymmetry suggests that brain asymmetry might be controlled by the same mechanisms. However, most of the functional brain laterality, including language processing and handedness, does not share common mechanisms with visceral asymmetry. Accumulating evidence indicates that asymmetry is manifested as chirality at the single cellular level. In neurons, the growth cone filopodia at the tips of neurites exhibit a myosin V-dependent, left-helical, and right-screw rotation, which drives the clockwise circular growth of neurites on adhesive substrates. Here, I propose an alternative model for the formation of brain asymmetry that is based on chiral neuronal motility. According to this chiral neuron model, the molecular chirality of actin filaments and myosin motors is converted into chiral neuronal motility, which is in turn transformed into the left–right asymmetry of neural circuits and lateralized brain functions. I also introduce automated, numerical, and quantitative methods to analyze the chirality and the left–right asymmetry that would enable the efficient testing of the model and to accelerate future investigations in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chiral Asymmetry in Cells)
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