The cell ratchet: Interplay between efficient protrusions and adhesion determines cell motion

D. Caballero , R. Voituriez , D. Riveline

Bibtex , URL
Published 14 Sep. 2015
DOI: 10.1080/19336918.2015.1061865
ISSN: 1933-6918


Many physiological and pathological processes involve directed cell motion. In general, migrating cells are represented with a polarized morphology with extending and retracting protrusions at the leading edge. However, cell motion is a more complex phenomenon. Cells show heterogeneous morphologies and high protrusive dynamics is not always related to cell shape. This prevents the quantitative prediction of cell motion and the identification of cellular mechanisms setting directionality. Here we discuss the importance of protrusion fluctuations in directed cell motion. We show how their spatiotemporal distribution and dynamics determine the fluctuations and directions of cell motion for NIH3T3 fibroblasts plated on micro-patterned adhesive ratchets.(1) We introduce efficient protrusions and direction index which capture short-term cell motility over hours: these new read-outs allow the prediction of parameters characteristic for the long-term motion of cells over days. The results may have important implications for the study of biological phenomena where directed cell migration is involved, in morphogenesis and in cancer.

This publication is related to:

Stochastic dynamics of reactive and living systems