Geometric Friction Directs Cell Migration

Condensed Matter journal club

Geometric Friction Directs Cell Migration

  • Event time: 11:30am
  • Event date: 6th December 2013
  • Speaker: Elliot Marsden (Formerly School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details


In the absence of environmental cues, a migrating cell performs an isotropic random motion. Recently, the breaking of this isotropy has been observed when cells move in the presence of asymmetric adhesive patterns. However, up to now the mechanisms at work to direct cell migration in such environments remain unknown. Here, we show that a nonadhesive surface with asymmetric microgeometry consisting of dense arrays of tilted micropillars can direct cell motion. Our analysis reveals that most features of cell trajectories, including the bias, can be reproduced by a simple model of active Brownian particle in a ratchet potential, which we suggest originates from a generic elastic interaction of the cell body with the environment. The observed guiding effect, independent of adhesion, is therefore robust and could be used to direct cell migration both in vitro and in vivo.
PRL 111 article 198101 (2013)
pdf version


M. Le Berre, Yan-Jun Liu, J. Hu, Paolo Maiuri, O. BĂ©nichou, Voituriez, Y Chen, M. Piel