by Valerio Lupperger, Carsten Marr, Prisca Chapouton
Regulation of quiescence and cell cycle entry is pivotal for the maintenance of stem cell populations. Regulatory mechanisms, however, are poorly understood. In particular, it is unclear how the activity of single stem cells is coordinated within the population or if cells divide in a purely random fashion. We addressed this issue by analyzing division events in an adult neural stem cell (NSC) population of the zebrafish telencephalon. Spatial statistics and mathematical modeling of over 80,000 NSCs in 36 brain hemispheres revealed weakly aggregated, nonrandom division patterns in space and time. Analyzing divisions at 2 time points allowed us to infer cell cycle and S-phase lengths computationally. Interestingly, we observed rapid cell cycle reentries in roughly 15% of newly born NSCs. In agent-based simulations of NSC populations, this redividing activity sufficed to induce aggregated spatiotemporal division patterns that matched the ones observed experimentally. In contrast, omitting redivisions leads to a random spatiotemporal distribution of dividing cells. Spatiotemporal aggregation of dividing stem cells can thus emerge solely from the cell’s history.