Cells exert forces on their environment by contracting actin networks, friction of intracellular F-actin flow, and polymerization when they move, e.g., during tumor metastasis or development. In this context, the relation between adhesion and cell velocity is a general cell-type-independent observation, the investigation of which bears the chance of understanding basic mechanisms. Restricting cell motion to one-dimensional lanes simplifies the problem and allows for comparison to mathematical models. Polymerization at the cell’s leading edge drives F-actin network flow and pushes the membrane. The drag of detaching the cell, the membrane, and the cell body resist motion. Since only velocity-controlled forces shape motion, cells can move even across highly adhesive areas without getting stuck.
On the adhesion–velocity relation and length adaptation of motile cells on stepped fibronectin lanes
Christoph Schreiber, Behnam Amiri, Johannes C. J. Heyn, Joachim O. Rädler, and Martin Falcke
PNAS January 26, 2021 118 (4), Show article