- Top of page
- Collective oscillations in microbial populations
- cAMP oscillations and waves in Dictyostelium
- Future prospect
From hormonal secretion to gene expression, multicellular dynamics are rich in oscillatory regulation. When organized in space and time, periodic cell–cell signaling can give rise to long-range coordination of gene expression and cell movement in tissues. Lack of synchrony of the oscillations on the other hand can serve as a source of initial divergence of cell fate in stem cells. How properties of individual cells can account for collective rhythmic behaviors at the tissue level remains elusive in most cases. Recently, studies in chemical reactions, synthetic gene circuits, yeast and social amoeba Dictyostelium have greatly enhanced our view of collective oscillations in cell populations. From these relatively simple systems, a unified view of how excitable and oscillatory regulations could be tuned and coupled to give rise to tissue-level oscillations is emerging. The review focuses on recent progress in cyclic adenosine monophosphate oscillations in Dictyostelium and highlights similarities and differences with other systems. We will see that the autonomy of single-cell level oscillations and different ways in which cells are coupled influence how group-level information can be encoded in collective oscillations.