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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 2;110(1):129-34. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1204291110. Epub 2012 Dec 18.

Migration of cells in a social context.

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1
Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark.

Abstract

In multicellular organisms and complex ecosystems, cells migrate in a social context. Whereas this is essential for the basic processes of life, the influence of neighboring cells on the individual remains poorly understood. Previous work on isolated cells has observed a stereotypical migratory behavior characterized by short-time directional persistence with long-time random movement. We discovered a much richer dynamic in the social context, with significant variations in directionality, displacement, and speed, which are all modulated by local cell density. We developed a mathematical model based on the experimentally identified "cellular traffic rules" and basic physics that revealed that these emergent behaviors are caused by the interplay of single-cell properties and intercellular interactions, the latter being dominated by a pseudopod formation bias mediated by secreted chemicals and pseudopod collapse following collisions. The model demonstrates how aspects of complex biology can be explained by simple rules of physics and constitutes a rapid test bed for future studies of collective migration of individual cells.

PMID:
23251032
PMCID:
PMC3538227
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1204291110
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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