What is the Difference Between Cell Determination and Cell Differentiation

The main difference between cell determination and cell differentiation is that the cell determination is the assignment of the fate of the cells whereas, the cell differentiation is the morphological modification of the cells to perform the assigned function. Furthermore, cell determination is a result of asymmetric segregation of cytoplasmic determinants while cell differentiation is a result of differential gene expression. Moreover, cell differentiation follows cell determination.

Cell differentiation and cell determination are two sequential processes which allow cell specialization.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Cell Determination
      – Definition, Process, Importance
2. What is Cell Differentiation
     – Definition, Process, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Cell Determination and Cell Differentiation
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Cell Determination and Cell Differentiation
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Cell Determination, Cell Differentiation, Cytoplasmic Determinants, Differential Gene Expression, Fate

Difference Between Cell Determination and Cell Differentiation - Comparison Summary

What is Cell Determination

Cell determination is the determination of the set of genes that are to be expressed in a particular group of cells. It occurs through the asymmetric segregation of cytoplasmic determinants. These cytoplasmic determinants can be either proteins or mRNAs. Due to their asymmetric localization, one daughter cell receives the majority of the cytoplasmic determinants during cell division while the other daughter cell receives a fewer number of determinants. Thus, this makes the daughter cells of the same cell division different. Therefore, these two daughter cells have different cell fates. 

What is the Difference Between Cell Determination and Cell Differentiation

Figure 1: Cell Determination

The main role of cytoplasmic determinants is to select a set of genes that should be expressed in the daughter cell. As a result, a part of the genome will be expressed while the rest will remain unexpressed. The majority of this determinants are the mRNAs that encode transcription factors. Also, transcription factors can serve as cytoplasmic determinants by themselves. Thus, their asymmetric distribution can alter the gene expression.

What is Cell Differentiation

Cell differentiation is the specialization of cells as a result of differential gene expression. And, the expression of a pre-determined set of genes of the genome results in the expression of only a selected set of proteins in the cell. Thus, this causes the production of different phenotypes in different cells. Therefore, different cells produce different morphological features. Also, they undergo unique metabolic reactions inside the cell. As a result, different cells become specialized to perform different functions in the body of a multicellular organism.

Difference Between Cell Determination and Cell Differentiation

Figure 2: Cell Differentiation

The cells with similar functions occur in groups called tissues. Therefore, a particular tissue contains morphologically similar cells with the same function. Therefore, in order to perform each function of the body, there is a specialized type of tissue.

Similarities Between Cell Determination and Cell Differentiation

  • Cell determination and cell differentiation are two sequential processes responsible for cell specialization.
  • They bring changes by means of the alteration of gene expression.
  • Also, both processes are important in the formation of tissues and organs.

Difference Between Cell Determination and Cell Differentiation

Definition

Cell determination refers to the process of selection of portions of the genome for gene expression in different embryonic cells. While, cell differentiation refers to the process of specialization of a cell to make it perform a specific function. Thus, this explains the main difference between cell determination and cell differentiation.

Consequence

Another difference between cell determination and cell differentiation is that the cell determination occurs in totipotent, embryonic stem cells while the cell differentiation follows cell determination.

Resulted by

Moreover, the asymmetric segregation of cytoplasmic determinants results in cell determination while differential gene expression results in cell differentiation.

Role

Also, cell determination is responsible for assigning the fate of the cells while cell differentiation is responsible for the functional specialization of the cells. Hence, this is another difference between cell determination and cell differentiation.

Conclusion

Cell determination is a result of the asymmetric segregation of cytoplasmic determinants, which leads to the selection of the genes to be expressed. It determines the fate of the cells. On the other hand, cell differentiation is responsible for the functional specialization of the cells. It occurs due to the differential expression of genes. Therefore, the main difference between cell determination and cell differentiation is the process and the role in the cell specialization.

Reference:

1. Slonczewski, Joan. “Differential Gene Expression and Development.” Chapter 11. Development: Differentiation and DeterminationAvailable Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “422 Feature Stem Cell new” By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site, Jun 19, 2013. (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia  
2. “Stemcelldifferentiaion” By US gov –  (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia  

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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