Turing-type patterning with an Activator (red) and an Inhibitor (blue). The Activator activates itself and the Inhibitor. The Inhibitor only inhibits the Activator. If the inhibitor diffuses more quickly than the activator, this can set up a regular pattern of spots in a tissue. In the bottom panel, the activator is randomly expressed at low levels in a subset of cells over a tissue. It self-activates to increase it's own expression levels while also activating the inhibitor. The inhibitor quickly diffuses to the adjacent cells (second panel). Cells with both activator and inhibitor (purple) quickly convert to inhibtor-only as the inhibitor turns the activator off (third panel). Cells that are not exposed to the inhibitor (white) can randomly turn on the activator, turning on the diffusible inhibitor (fourth panel). This quickly sets up a stable pattern of "on" and "off" cells (fifth panel).
This figure was originally published in Evolutionary Developmental Biology
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evolution, development, evodevo, modeling, turing, patterning