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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2006 Dec;74(6 Pt 1):061908. Epub 2006 Dec 22.

Phase transition in the collective migration of tissue cells: experiment and model.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Physics, Eötvös University, Pázmány P. stny. 1A, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary.

Abstract

We have recorded the swarming-like collective migration of a large number of keratocytes (tissue cells obtained from the scales of goldfish) using long-term videomicroscopy. By increasing the overall density of the migrating cells, we have been able to demonstrate experimentally a kinetic phase transition from a disordered into an ordered state. Near the critical density a complex picture emerges with interacting clusters of cells moving in groups. Motivated by these experiments we have constructed a flocking model that exhibits a continuous transition to the ordered phase, while assuming only short-range interactions and no explicit information about the knowledge of the directions of motion of neighbors. Placing cells in microfabricated arenas we found spectacular whirling behavior which we could also reproduce in simulations.

PMID:
17280097
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevE.74.061908
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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