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Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 27;6:34047. doi: 10.1038/srep34047.

Displacement correlations between a single mesenchymal-like cell and its nucleus effectively link subcellular activities and motility in cell migration analysis.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.
Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.
Institute for Cell &Tissue Science and Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.
National Cancer Institute-Physical Science Oncology Center, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


Cell migration is an essential process in organism development and physiological maintenance. Although current methods permit accurate comparisons of the effects of molecular manipulations and drug applications on cell motility, effects of alterations in subcellular activities on motility cannot be fully elucidated from those methods. Here, we develop a strategy termed cell-nuclear (CN) correlation to parameterize represented dynamic subcellular activities and to quantify their contributions in mesenchymal-like migration. Based on the biophysical meaning of the CN correlation, we propose a cell migration potential index (CMPI) to measure cell motility. When the effectiveness of CMPI was evaluated with respect to one of the most popular cell migration analysis methods, Persistent Random Walk, we found that the cell motility estimates among six cell lines used in this study were highly consistent between these two approaches. Further evaluations indicated that CMPI can be determined using a shorter time period and smaller cell sample size, and it possesses excellent reliability and applicability, even in the presence of a wide range of noise, as might be generated from individual imaging acquisition systems. The novel approach outlined here introduces a robust strategy through an analysis of subcellular locomotion activities for single cell migration assessment.

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