Humans are able to detect fitness decay in colleagues by looking at the graying of the hair or the wrinkles in their faces. Work from my laboratory in the last few years has shown that cells can also detect fitness levels of neighboring cells using a molecular code. Those “fitness fingerprints” (Rhiner et al., Dev.Cell, 2010; Merino et al., Curr. Biol., 2013) can be used to mediate cell selection by recognizing and eliminating less fit cells during ageing (Merino et al., Cell, 2015), regeneration (Moreno et al., Curr. Biol., 2015) and cancer (Levayer et al., Nature 2015).
Cell FitnessMoreno Lab email@example.com
We are generally interested in how cells of multicellular animals can detect the fitness of neighboring cells selecting the fittest cells. This is a fundamental process that has implications in several broader fields, for example:
1. Ageing: During ageing, elimination of unfit cells maintains tissue health and prolongs lifespan (Merino et al., Cell 2015).
2. Cancer: Tumor cells can behave as superfit cells and expand by killing and replacing neighbouring tissue, leading to tissue invasion and destruction (Levayer et al., Nature 2015).
3. Neurobiology: Neurons can also exchange fitness information leading to the culling of less fit neurons during development (Merino et al.Curr. Biol., 2013), brain regeneration (Moreno et al., Curr. Biol., 2015) and brain ageing (Merino et al., Cell 2015).
Brás-Pereira C, Moreno E. (2017) Mechanical cell competition. Curr Op Cell Bio 51 , 15-21. (doi:10.1016/j.ceb.2017.10.003)
Levayer R, Dupont C, Moreno E. (2016) Tissue Crowding Induces Caspase-Dependent Competition for Space. Curr. Biol. S0960-9822 (16), 00059-2 (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.072)
Merino MM, Levayer R, Moreno E (2016) Survival of the Fittest: Essential Roles of Cell Competition in Development, Aging, and Cancer Trends Cell Biol. (doi:10.1016/j.tcb.2016.05.009)
Levayer, R., Hauert, B. and Moreno, E (2015) Cell mixing induced by myc is required for competitive tissue invasion and destruction Nature (doi:10.1038/nature14684)
Casas-Tinto, S., Lolo, F. and Moreno E (2015) Active JNK-dependent secretion of Drosophila Tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase by loser cells recruits haemocytes during cell competition Nat Commun (doi:10.1038/ncomms10022)
Gogna R, Shee K, Moreno E (2015) Cell Competition During Growth and Regeneration Annu. Rev. Genet. (doi:10.1146/annurev-genet-112414-055214)
Moreno E., Fernandez-Marrero, Y., Meyer, P., and Rhiner, C (2015) Brain regeneration in Drosophila involves comparison of neuronal fitness Curr. Biol. (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.02.014)
Merino MM, Rhiner C, Lopez-Gay JM, Buechel D, Hauert B, Moreno E (2015) Elimination of unfit cells maintains tissue health and prolongs lifespan Cell (doi:10.1016/j.cell.2014.12.017)
Moreno, E. and Rhiner, C (2014) Darwin`s multicellularity: From neurotrophic theories and cell competition to fitness fingerprints Curr Op Cell Bio (doi:10.1016/j.ceb.2014.06.011)
Moreno, E (2014) Cancer: Darwinian tumour suppression Nature (doi:10.1038/nature13337)
Merino MM, Rhiner C, Portela M, Moreno E (2013) "Fitness fingerprints" mediate physiological culling of unwanted neurons in Drosophila Curr. Biol. (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.053)
Moreno, E. (2012) Design and Construction of ‘‘Synthetic Species’’ PLoS ONE (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039054)
Rhiner C, López-Gay JM, Soldini D, Casas-Tinto S, Martín FA, Lombardía L, Moreno E (2010) Flower Forms an Extracellular Code that Reveals the Fitness of a Cell to its Neighbors in Drosophila Dev. Cell
Portela M, Casas-Tinto S, Rhiner C, López-Gay JM, Domínguez O, Soldini D, Moreno E (2010) Drosophila SPARC is a self-protective signal expressed by loser cells during cell competition Dev. Cell
Moreno, E. (2008) Is cell competition relevant to cancer? Nat. Rev. Cancer
Moreno E, Basler K (2004) dMyc transforms cells into super-competitors Cell
Moreno E, Basler K, Morata G (2002) Cells compete for Decapentaplegic survival factor to prevent apoptosis in Drosophila wing development Nature