Cell Migration and Correlated Cell Velocity

J. A. Glazier

Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame,

316 Nieuwland, Notre Dame, In 46556-5670 USA

During embryonic development, cells need to migrate long distances through tissues. How do they know where to go? Two basic mechanisms are at work. Over long distances, cells secrete and follow gradients of diffusible chemicals (chemotaxis). Once they are approximately in the correct position, variable adhesion molecules expressed on their surfaces help them to form coherent structures by energy minimization (differential adhesion). Simulations and quantitative experiments help disentangle these processes. However, simulations require assumptions about the behavior of individual cells. The simplest assumption is that cells behave like thermally excited particles but a cell's cytoskeletal motors are not restricted to quasi-thermal behavior. Recently we have investigated how correlations in cell velocity can lead to superdiffusion of sorting cells and hence to faster sorting.