Cell competition


Within cancerous tumours, multiple cell lineages with varying degrees of oncogenic mutations coexist. Furthermore, environmental conditions vary greatly between the tumour edges and its interior. Thus, competition between lineages may take place within the tumour and the different microenvironments may influence the outcome of this competition.


Non-transformed MCF10A (green) interact with malignant MCF-Ca1 (red) on a 400 um diameter adhesive micropattern over 4 days.

Current work in the lab

We are currently investigating this in the lab by using a newly developed experimental system in which cells of different lineages are seeded within 400 µm diameter arenas and filmed for 4 days. Segmentation of the movies allows tracking of all of the cells and their progeny over this time period. This information allows us to derive rules of interactions between cells of different lineages. In parallel, we are developing simulations employing game theory algorithms to replicate the experiments and understand the rules of competition between cells types.

Relevant publications: 

Bove, A., Gradeci, D., Fujita, Y., Banerjee, S., Charras, G., Lowe, A.R. (2017). Local cellular neighbourhood controls proliferation in cell competition. Mol Biol Cell. 2017 Sep 20. link

Collaborators on this project:

Alan Lowe (ISMB, UCL, London, UK)

Shiladitya Banerjee (Department of Physics, UCL, London, UK)

Julien Gautrot (QMUL, London, UK)

Funding on this project:

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)