Protrusion Fluctuations Direct Cell Motion

D. Caballero , R. Voituriez , D. Riveline

Bibtex , URL
Published 01 Jul. 2014
DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2014.05.002
ISSN: 0006-3495


Many physiological phenomena involve directional cell migration. It is usually attributed to chemical gradients in vivo. Recently, other cues have been shown to guide cells in vitro, including stiffness/adhesion gradients or micropatterned adhesive motifs. However, the cellular mechanism leading to these biased migrations remains unknown, and, often, even the direction of motion is unpredictable. In this study, we show the key role of fluctuating protrusions on ratchet-like structures in driving NIH3T3 cell migration. We identified the concept of efficient protrusion and an associated direction index. Our analysis of the protrusion statistics facilitated the quantitative prediction of cell trajectories in all investigated conditions. We varied the external cues by changing the adhesive patterns. We also modified the internal cues using drug treatments, which modified the protrusion activity. Stochasticity affects the short- and long-term steps. We developed a theoretical model showing that an asymmetry in the protrusion fluctuations is sufficient for predicting all measures associated with the long-term motion, which can be described as a biased persistent random walk.

This publication is related to:

Stochastic dynamics of reactive and live systems