Acta Biotheoretica

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 283–294 | Cite as

A Conceptual Model of Morphogenesis and Regeneration

  • A. Tosenberger
  • N. Bessonov
  • M. Levin
  • N. Reinberg
  • V. Volpert
  • N. Morozova
Regular Article


This paper is devoted to computer modelling of the development and regeneration of multicellular biological structures. Some species (e.g. planaria and salamanders) are able to regenerate parts of their body after amputation damage, but the global rules governing cooperative cell behaviour during morphogenesis are not known. Here, we consider a simplified model organism, which consists of tissues formed around special cells that can be interpreted as stem cells. We assume that stem cells communicate with each other by a set of signals, and that the values of these signals depend on the distance between cells. Thus the signal distribution characterizes location of stem cells. If the signal distribution is changed, then the difference between the initial and the current signal distribution affects the behaviour of stem cells—e.g. as a result of an amputation of a part of tissue the signal distribution changes which stimulates stem cells to migrate to new locations, appropriate for regeneration of the proper pattern. Moreover, as stem cells divide and form tissues around them, they control the form and the size of regenerating tissues. This two-level organization of the model organism, with global regulation of stem cells and local regulation of tissues, allows its reproducible development and regeneration.


Regeneration Morphogenesis Cell memory Target morphology 



The authors acknowledge the National Institute of Health, NIH R03 HD81401-01, 1R01HD081326-01; The G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation; NSF CDI EF-1124651; W.M. Keck foundation; Agence National de la Recherch, ANR-2010-BLAN-0107-01.

Supplementary material

10441_2015_9249_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (601 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 601 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Tosenberger
    • 1
  • N. Bessonov
    • 2
  • M. Levin
    • 3
  • N. Reinberg
    • 2
  • V. Volpert
    • 4
  • N. Morozova
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Institut des Hautes Études ScientifiquesBures-sur-YvetteFrance
  2. 2.Institute of Mechanical Engineering ProblemsSaint PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Tufts Center for Regenerative & Developmental BiologyTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  4. 4.Institut Camille Jordan, UMR 5208 CNRSUniversity Lyon 1VilleurbanneFrance
  5. 5.Laboratoire Epigenetique et Cancer, CNRS FRE 3377CEA SaclayGif-sur-YvetteFrance

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