a new way to guide a group of migrating cells

a new way to guide a group of migrating cells

Some cells, especially metastatic cells, must cooperate with their neighbors to migrate efficiently. By analyzing the early development of the zebrafish embryo, scientists have identified a new form of cooperation between cells. Each cell, to move forward, anchor and shoot the cell in front of it. The latter perceives this traction and uses this information to guide its own movement. Directional information is thus propagated from cell to cell, coordinating the migration of a together (In set theory, a set intuitively designates a collection…) of cells The results are published in the journal development cell.

A. Axial mesendoderm (green) migrates toward the interior of the embryo (membrane of other cells visible in red).
B. Theorientation (In a literal sense, the orientation designates or materializes the direction of the East (dawn…) of migration is ensured by the transmission, from cell to cell, of information mechanic (In everyday parlance, mechanics is the field of machines, engines, vehicles, organs, etc.). Each cell, while migrating, exerts a strain (Tension is a force that stretches.) in the front cell, which orients the front cell.
© Arthur Boutillon and Nicolas David

Cellular migrations are essential for many normal processes (healing, regeneration, embryonic development) and pathological processes (metastasis formation in particular). During the last fifteen years, it has become evident that many cell migrations are collective, that is, each cell has need (The needs are at the level of the interaction between the individual and the environment. It is…) of their neighbors to move. However, the mechanisms responsible for these collective migrations remain poorly understood.

Scientists are using the early zebrafish embryo as a model system. Being largely transparent, this model allows cell migrations to be accurately followed, all (The whole understood as the whole of what exists is often interpreted as the world or…) offering the possibility of physically or genetically manipulating cells or their environment (The environment is everything that surrounds us. They are all natural elements and…). By focusing on a particular cell population, the axial mesendoderm, they have identified an original mode of orientation: to migrate, a cell emits a forward bulge (membrane extension) that allows it to move forward by traction. This projection therefore exerts a tension on the cell located in front of it. This tension is detected in the cell by a molecular force detection system, and induced (The armature is a generally electromagnetic device used in electrical engineering responsible for…) the cell orientation, which in turn will cast a forward bulge and orient the cell in front of it. Address information is thus propagated from cell to cell through the tissue. This mechanism allows a group of cells to orient itself, without the need for external guidance signals, which could be particularly relevant for cancer cells capable of invading many tissues that do not provide a priori guide signs.

At the scale of a cell group, this mechanism also ensures the coordination of cell movement: if the cells located in the back slow down, the direction information spreads less efficiently, the cells in the front migrate less efficiently. oriented, inducing a decelerate (The slowdown signal (of the SNCF type) announces a pointer (or several) in a deflected position…) of his worldwide movement. This mode of cell guidance is therefore a simple and robust way of coordinating the movements of different cells and thus ensuring the integrity of tissues during major cell movements, such as those that take place during embryonic development. .

Animation: After ablation (with a laser) of a cell bulge, the cell body retracts, showing that the bulge was under tension.
© Arthur Boutillon and Nicolas David.


The orientation of the followers ensures the long-range coordination of cell migration through the mechano-sensing of α-catenin.
Boutillon A, Escot S, Elouin A, Jahn D, González-Tirado S, Starruß J, Brusch L, David NB.
development cell. 2022 May 24. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2022.05.001

laboratoryoptical (Optics is the branch of physics that deals with light, radiation…) and biosciences – Institute (An institute is a permanent organization created for a specific purpose. It is…) polytechnic of Paris (Paris is a French city, capital of France and capital of the region…) (CNRS/Inserm/Ecole Polytechnique). Road (The word “path” derives from the Latin (via) rupta, literally “path…) of Saclay. 91128 Palaiseau Cedex.

Nicholas David- Seeker (A researcher (fem. researcher) refers to a person whose job it is to investigate…) CNRS (The National Center for Scientific Research, better known by its acronym CNRS, is the largest…) to the Laboratory of Optics and Biosciences – Polytechnic Institute of Paris (CNRS/Inserm/ecole polytechnique) and to the professor at the Ecole polytechnique – nicolas.david at polytechnique.edu

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