BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

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BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

Group advantage in chemotaxis of neural crest cells Feng, James


Neural crest cells migrate rapidly over long distances during early embryonic development of vertebrates, and their migration has been much studied as a model for chemotaxis and cancer metastasis. A curious observation is the "group advantage": in a chemokine gradient too shallow to induce a single cell to chemotax, a cluster of cells can demonstrate robust chemotaxis up the gradient. In this talk, I will describe a model that explains this behavior based on cell-cell interaction. Through contact inhibition and co-attraction, the cells modulate each other's Rac1 and RhoA dynamics on their membranes and achieve a common polarity. This affords a group of cells much stronger persistence in their chemotaxis than a single cell against ambient noise.

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