Edinburgh Research Explorer

A minimal physical model captures the shapes of crawling cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Open Access permissions

Open

Documents

Original languageEnglish
Article number5420
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 21 Jan 2015

Abstract

Cell motility in higher organisms (eukaryotes) is crucial to biological functions ranging from wound healing to immune response, and also implicated in diseases such as cancer. For cells crawling on hard surfaces, significant insights into motility have been gained from experiments replicating such motion in vitro. Such experiments show that crawling uses a combination of actin treadmilling (polymerization), which pushes the front of a cell forward, and myosin- induced stress (contractility), which retracts the rear. Here we present a simplified physical model of a crawling cell, consisting of a droplet of active polar fluid with contractility throughout, but treadmilling connected to a thin layer near the supporting wall. The model shows a variety of shapes and/ or motility regimes, some closely resembling cases seen experimentally. Our work strongly supports the view that cellular motility exploits autonomous physical mechanisms whose operation does not need continuous regulatory effort.

    Research areas

  • SELF-POLARIZATION, MOTILITY, FLOW, KERATOCYTES, MECHANISM, CONTRACTILITY, SYMMETRY, ADHESION, REAR

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 21147298