Modelling the collective response of heterogeneous cell populations to stationary gradients and chemical signal relay

Miguel Pineda (Lead / Corresponding author), Raluca Eftimie

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Abstract

The directed motion of cell aggregates toward a chemical source occurs in many relevant biological processes. Understanding the mechanisms that control this complex behavior is of great relevance for our understanding of developmental biological processes and many diseases. In this paper, we consider a self-propelled particle model for the movement of heterogeneous subpopulations of chemically interacting cells towards an imposed stable chemical gradient. Our simulations show explicitly how self-organisation of cell populations (which could lead to engulfment or complete cell segregation) can arise from the heterogeneity of chemotactic responses alone. This new result complements current theoretical and experimental studies that emphasise the role of differential cell-cell adhesion on self-organisation and spatial structure of cellular aggregates. We also investigate how the speed of individual cell aggregations increases with the chemotactic sensitivity of the cells, and decreases with the number of cells inside the aggregates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number066003
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Biology
Volume14
Issue number6
Early online date1 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2017

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