Actin Flows Mediate a Universal Coupling between Cell Speed and Cell Persistence

P. Maiuri , J.F. Rupprecht , S. Wieser , V. Ruprecht , O. Benichou , N. Carpi , M. Coppey , S. De Beco , N. Gov , C.P. Heisenberg , C.L. Crespo , F. Lautenschlaeger , M. Le Berre , A.M. Lennon-Dumenil , M. Raab , H.R. Thiam , M. Piel , M. Sixt , R. Voituriez

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Cell, 161, 2
Published 09 Apr. 2015
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.01.056
ISSN: 0092-8674


Cell movement has essential functions in development, immunity, and cancer. Various cell migration patterns have been reported, but no general rule has emerged so far. Here, we show on the basis of experimental data in vitro and in vivo that cell persistence, which quantifies the straightness of trajectories, is robustly coupled to cell migration speed. We suggest that this universal coupling constitutes a generic law of cell migration, which originates in the advection of polarity cues by an actin cytoskeleton undergoing flows at the cellular scale. Our analysis relies on a theoretical model that we validate by measuring the persistence of cells upon modulation of actin flow speeds and upon optogenetic manipulation of the binding of an actin regulator to actin filaments. Beyond the quantitative prediction of the coupling, the model yields a generic phase diagram of cellular trajectories, which recapitulates the full range of observed migration patterns.

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Stochastic dynamics of reactive and living systems

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