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J Cell Biol. 2010 Jan 11;188(1):11-9. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200909003. Epub 2009 Dec 1.

Plasticity of cell migration: a multiscale tuning model.

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Department of Cell Biology, Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6500 HB Nijmegen, Netherlands.


Cell migration underlies tissue formation, maintenance, and regeneration as well as pathological conditions such as cancer invasion. Structural and molecular determinants of both tissue environment and cell behavior define whether cells migrate individually (through amoeboid or mesenchymal modes) or collectively. Using a multiparameter tuning model, we describe how dimension, density, stiffness, and orientation of the extracellular matrix together with cell determinants-including cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion, cytoskeletal polarity and stiffness, and pericellular proteolysis-interdependently control migration mode and efficiency. Motile cells integrate variable inputs to adjust interactions among themselves and with the matrix to dictate the migration mode. The tuning model provides a matrix of parameters that control cell movement as an adaptive and interconvertible process with relevance to different physiological and pathological contexts.

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