Seeds of Locally Aligned Motion and Stress Coordinate a Collective Cell Migration

Assaf Zaritsky, Erik S. Welf, Yun Yu Tseng, M. Angeles Rabadán, Xavier Serra-Picamal, Xavier Trepat, Gaudenz Danuser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We find how collective migration emerges from mechanical information transfer between cells. Local alignment of cell velocity and mechanical stress orientation - a phenomenon dubbed "plithotaxis" - plays a crucial role in inducing coordinated migration. Leader cells at the monolayer edge better align velocity and stress to migrate faster toward the open space. Local seeds of enhanced motion then generate stress on neighboring cells to guide their migration. Stress-induced motion propagates into the monolayer as well as along the monolayer boundary to generate increasingly larger clusters of coordinately migrating cells that move faster with enhanced alignment of velocity and stress. Together, our analysis provides a model of long-range mechanical communication between cells, in which plithotaxis translates local mechanical fluctuations into globally collective migration of entire tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2492-2500
Number of pages9
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics


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