Cell competition: how to eliminate your neighbours

Development. 2014 Mar;141(5):988-1000. doi: 10.1242/dev.079129.


A conventional view of development is that cells cooperate to build an organism. However, based on studies of Drosophila, it has been known for years that viable cells can be eliminated by their neighbours through a process termed cell competition. New studies in mammals have revealed that this process is universal and that many factors and mechanisms are conserved. During cell competition, cells with lower translation rates or those with lower levels of proteins involved in signal transduction, polarity and cellular growth can survive in a homogenous environment but are killed when surrounded by cells of higher fitness. Here, we discuss recent advances in the field as well as the mechanistic steps involved in this phenomenon, which have shed light on how and why cell competition exists in developing and adult organisms.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Losers; Minute; Myc; Super-competition; Winners.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Drosophila Proteins