Collisions of deformable cells lead to collective migration

Jakob Löber, Falko Ziebert, Igor S. Aranson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Collective migration of eukaryotic cells plays a fundamental role in tissue growth, wound healing and immune response. The motion, arising spontaneously or in response to chemical and mechanical stimuli, is also important for understanding life-threatening pathologies, such as cancer and metastasis formation. We present a phase-field model to describe the movement of many self-organized, interacting cells. The model takes into account the main mechanisms of cell motility - acto-myosin dynamics, as well as substrate-mediated and cell-cell adhesion. It predicts that collective cell migration emerges spontaneously as a result of inelastic collisions between neighboring cells: collisions lead to a mutual alignment of the cell velocities and to the formation of coherently-moving multi-cellular clusters. Small cell-to-cell adhesion, in turn, reduces the propensity for large-scale collective migration, while higher adhesion leads to the formation of moving bands. Our study provides valuable insight into biological processes associated with collective cell motility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9172
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Mar 17 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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