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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2009 Oct;21(5):636-44. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Jun 11.

Mechanical modes of 'amoeboid' cell migration.

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Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Hofschneider Group Leukocyte Migration, Martinsried, Germany.


The morphological term 'amoeboid' migration subsumes a number of rather distinct biophysical modes of cellular locomotion that range from blebbing motility to entirely actin-polymerization-based gliding. Here, we discuss the diverse principles of force generation and force transduction that lead to the distinct amoeboid phenotypes. We argue that shifting the balance between actin protrusion, actomyosin contraction, and adhesion to the extracellular substrate can explain the different modes of amoeboid movement and that blebbing and gliding are barely extreme variants of one common migration strategy. Depending on the cell type, physiological conditions or experimental manipulation, amoeboid cells can adopt the distinct mechanical modes of amoeboid migration.

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