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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Jun 20;100(24):248702. Epub 2008 Jun 20.

Self-propelled particle model for cell-sorting phenomena.

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Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Avenida Bento Gonçalves, 9500, P.B. 15051, 91501-970 Porto Alegre, Brazil.


A self-propelled particle model is introduced to study cell sorting occurring in some living organisms. This allows us to evaluate the influence of intrinsic cell motility separately from differential adhesion with fluctuations, a mechanism previously shown to be sufficient to explain a variety of cell rearrangement processes. We find that the tendency of cells to actively follow their neighbors greatly reduces segregation time scales. A finite-size analysis of the sorting process reveals clear algebraic growth laws as in physical phase-ordering processes, albeit with unusual scaling exponents.

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