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Moving forward moving backward: Directional sorting of chemotactic cells due to size and adhesion differences

Kafer, J., Hogeweg, P. and Maree, A.F.M. ORCID: 2006. Moving forward moving backward: Directional sorting of chemotactic cells due to size and adhesion differences. PLoS Computational Biology 2 (6) , 0518-0529. 10.1371/journal.pcbi.0020056

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Differential movement of individual cells within tissues is an important yet poorly understood process in biological development. Here we present a computational study of cell sorting caused by a combination of cell adhesion and chemotaxis, where we assume that all cells respond equally to the chemotactic signal. To capture in our model mesoscopic properties of biological cells, such as their size and deformability, we use the Cellular Potts Model, a multiscale, cell-based Monte Carlo model. We demonstrate a rich array of cell-sorting phenomena, which depend on a combination of mescoscopic cell properties and tissue level constraints. Under the conditions studied, cell sorting is a fast process, which scales linearly with tissue size. We demonstrate the occurrence of “absolute negative mobility”, which means that cells may move in the direction opposite to the applied force (here chemotaxis). Moreover, during the sorting, cells may even reverse the direction of motion. Another interesting phenomenon is “minority sorting”, where the direction of movement does not depend on cell type, but on the frequency of the cell type in the tissue. A special case is the cAMP-wave-driven chemotaxis of Dictyostelium cells, which generates pressure waves that guide the sorting. The mechanisms we describe can easily be overlooked in studies of differential cell movement, hence certain experimental observations may be misinterpreted.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1553-734X
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 13:19

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