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Physical aspects of collective cell migration

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Christian Scheppach.

A number of biological processes, such as embryo development, cancer metastasis or wound healing, rely on cells moving in concert. The mechanisms leading to the emergence of group motion remain largely unexplored. Although biomolecular signalling is known to be involved in most occurrences of collective migration, the role of physical and mechanical interactions has been so far poorly addressed. In this presentation, a simple framework for cell motility is implemented in-silico in order to study the minimal requirements for the coordination of a group of epithelial cells, either as a spontaneously emerging behaviour, or as a response to “leader” cells. It appears that a key parameter, essentially characterising the ratio between the cohesion of the tissue and the motile force of individual cells, has the ability to control a wide spectrum of behaviours, from the epithelial-mesenchymal transition to the onset of collective invasion in cancer metastasis. This unified picture allows us to reassess the role of biomolecular signalling in a broader context and suggest a novel mechanism for driving cell sorting in remodelling tissues.

This talk is part of the Foster Talks series.

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