Emerging mechanisms of cell competition

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


The growth and survival of cells within tissues can be affected by ‘cell competition’ between different cell clones. This phenomenon was initially recognized between wild-type cells and cells with mutations in ribosomal protein (Rp) genes in Drosophila melanogaster. However, competition also affects D. melanogaster cells with mutations in epithelial polarity genes, and wild-type cells exposed to ‘super-competitor’ cells with mutation in the Salvador–Warts–Hippo tumour suppressor pathway or expressing elevated levels of Myc. More recently, cell competition and super-competition were recognized in mammalian development, organ homeostasis and cancer. Genetic and cell biological studies have revealed that mechanisms underlying cell competition include the molecular recognition of ‘different’ cells, signalling imbalances between distinct cell populations and the mechanical consequences of differential growth rates; these mechanisms may also involve innate immune proteins, p53 and changes in translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-697
Number of pages15
JournalNature Reviews Genetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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