Complexity and self-organization in the evolution of cell polarization

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3 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Cellular life exhibits order and complexity, which typically increase over the course of evolution. Cell polarization is a well-studied example of an ordering process that breaks the internal symmetry of a cell by establishing a preferential axis. Like many cellular processes, polarization is driven by self-organization, meaning that the macroscopic pattern emerges as a consequence of microscopic molecular interactions at the biophysical level. However, the role of self-organization in the evolution of complex protein networks remains obscure. In this Review, we provide an overview of the evolution of polarization as a self-organizing process, focusing on the model species Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its fungal relatives. Moreover, we use this model system to discuss how self-organization might relate to evolutionary change, offering a shift in perspective on evolution at the microscopic scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjcs259639
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Biochemical network
  • Budding yeast
  • Cdc42
  • Evolutionary theory
  • Fungi


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