Cell competition is a process by which cells with different properties compete with each other for survival and space, and consequently suboptimal/abnormal cells are often eliminated from, in particular, epithelial tissues. In the last few years, cell competition studies have been developing at an explosive speed, and the molecular mechanisms of cell competition have been considerably revealed. For instance, upon cell competition, loser cells are eliminated from tissues via a variety of loser phenotypes, including apoptosis, cell differentiation, and cell death-independent extrusion. In addition, upstream regulatory mechanisms for the induction of these phenotypes have been elucidated. Furthermore, it has become evident that cell competition is involved in various physiological and pathological processes and thus is a crucial and indispensable homeostatic machinery that is required for embryonic development and prevention of diseases and ageing. Moreover, cell competition now has a profound impact on other research fields such as regenerative medicine. In this review, we will summarize the development of these recent studies, especially focusing on cell competition in vertebrates.
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