You are here: Home Publications Tip cell overtaking occurs as a side effect of sprouting in computational models of angiogenesis [+ Supplementary Material]

Tip cell overtaking occurs as a side effect of sprouting in computational models of angiogenesis [+ Supplementary Material]

Sonja E.M. Boas and Roeland M.H. Merks (2015) Tip cell overtaking occurs as a side effect of sprouting in computational models of angiogenesis. BMC Systems Biology, 9:86.

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During angiogenesis, endothelial cells compete for the tip position during angiogenesis: a phenomenon named tip cell overtaking. It is still unclear to what extent tip cell overtaking is a side effect of sprouting or to what extent a biological function. To address this question, we studied tip cell overtaking in two existing cellular Potts models of angiogenic sprouting. In these models angiogenic sprouting-like behavior emerges from a small set of plausible cell behaviors and the endothelial cells spontaneously migrate forwards and backwards within sprouts, suggesting that tip cell overtaking might occur as a side effect of sprouting. In accordance with experimental observations, in our simulations the cells' tendency to occupy the tip position can be regulated when two cell lines with different levels of Vegfr2 expression are contributing to sprouting (mosaic sprouting assay), where cell behavior is regulated by a simple VEGF-Dll4-Notch signaling network. Our modeling results suggest that tip cell overtaking occurs spontaneously due to the stochastic motion of cells during sprouting. Thus, tip cell overtaking and sprouting dynamics may be interdependent and should be studied and interpreted in combination. VEGF-Dll4-Notch can regulate the ability of cells to occupy the tip cell position, but only when cells in the simulation strongly differ in their levels of Vegfr2. We propose that VEGF-Dll4-Notch signaling might not regulate which cell ends up at the tip, but assures that the cell that randomly ends up at the tip position acquires the tip cell phenotype. [ open access ] [ supplementary material ]