Stochastic Cell Fate and Longevity of Offspring
Cellular decision-making is a key process in which cells with similar genetic
and environmental background make dissimilar decisions. This stochastic process, which
happens in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells including stem cells, causes cellular diver-
sity and phenotypic variation. In addition, fitness predicts and describes changes in the
genetic composition of populations throughout the evolutionary history. Fitness may thus
be defined as the ability to adapt and produce surviving offspring. Here, we present a
mathematical model to predict the fitness of a cell and to address the fundamental issue of
phenotypic variation. We study a basic decision-making scenario where a bacteriophage
lambda reproduces in
Materials and Methods
In this prospective study, a mathematical predictive model was developed to estimate fitness as an index of survived offspring. We then leverage experi- mental data to validate the predictive power of our proposed model. A mathematical model based on game theory was also generated to elucidate a rationale behind cell decision.
Our findings indicate that a rational decision that is aimed to maximize life expec- tancy of offspring is almost identical to bacteriophage behavior reported based on experi- mental data. The results also showed that stochastic decision on cell fate maximizes the expected number of survived offspring.
We present a mathematical framework for analyzing a basic phenotypic variation problem and explain how bacteriophages maximize offspring longevity based on this model. We also introduce a mathematical benchmark for other investigations of phenotypic variation that exists in eukaryotes including stem cell differentiation.