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Phys Biol. 2012 Feb;9(1):016010. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/9/1/016010. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

Invasion from a cell aggregate--the roles of active cell motion and mechanical equilibrium.

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Department of Biological Physics, Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary.


Cell invasion from an aggregate into a surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) is an important process during development disease, e.g., vascular network assembly or tumor progression. To describe the behavior emerging from autonomous cell motility, cell-cell adhesion and contact guidance by ECM filaments, we propose a suitably modified cellular Potts model. We consider an active cell motility process in which internal polarity is governed by a positive feedback from cell displacements, a mechanism that can result in highly persistent motion when constrained by an oriented ECM structure. The model allows us to explore the interplay between haptotaxis, matrix degradation and active cell movement. We show that for certain conditions the cells are able to both invade the ECM and follow the ECM tracks. Furthermore, we argue that enforcing mechanical equilibrium within a bulk cell mass is of key importance in multicellular simulations.

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