Multidisciplinary approaches to understanding collective cell migration in developmental biology

Linus J. Schumacher, Paul M. Kulesa, Rebecca McLennan, Ruth E. Baker, Philip K. Maini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Mathematical models are becoming increasingly integrated with experimental efforts in the study of biological systems. Collective cell migration in developmental biology is a particularly fruitful application area for the development of theoretical models to predict the behaviour of complex multicellular systems with many interacting parts. In this context, mathematical models provide a tool to assess the consistency of experimental observations with testable mechanistic hypotheses. In this review, we showcase examples from recent years of multidisciplinary investigations of neural crest cell migration. The neural crest model system has been used to study how collective migration of cell populations is shaped by cell-cell interactions, cell-environmental interactions and heterogeneity between cells. The wide range of emergent behaviours exhibited by neural crest cells in different embryonal locations and in different organisms helps us chart out the spectrum of collective cell migration. At the same time, this diversity in migratory characteristics highlights the need to reconcile or unify the array of currently hypothesized mechanisms through the next generation of experimental data and generalized theoretical descriptions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number160056
Number of pages10
JournalOpen Biology
Volume6
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • collective cell migration
  • mathematical modelling
  • developmental biology
  • neural crest
  • NEURAL CREST MIGRATION
  • VITAL DYE ANALYSIS
  • NERVOUS-SYSTEM
  • MATHEMATICAL-MODEL
  • MOUSE EMBRYO
  • TRUNK
  • INVASION
  • CHEMOTAXIS
  • MELANOMA
  • PATHWAYS

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