Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


New IPLS paper in Nature Cell Biology

12 May 2015

Bergert et al



Force transmission during adhesion-independent migration

Authors: Martin Bergert, Anna Erzberger, Ravi A. Desai, Irene M. Aspalter, Andrew C. Oates, Guillaume Charras, Guillaume Salbreux & Ewa K. Paluch

Specific attachment points between a cell and its substrate were long thought to be required for cell migration. These attachment points, usually mediated by integrins froming focal adhesions to the substrate are used by cells to exert strong forces on the substrate and propel the cell body forward. Yet, recent observations indicate that cells can migrate in the absence of focal adhesions. The mechanical basis of such an adhesion-independent migration mode is poorly understood. The new collaborative article from the Paluch group, together with several other IPLS groups, explores the transmission of forces during cell migration in the absence of focal adhesions to the substrate.

Using a combination of elegant experiments and physical modeling, Bergert et al demonstrate that focal adhesion-independent migration is driven by non-specific friction between the cell and its substrate. Strikingly, the forces generated in this friction migration mode are orders of magnitude smaller than the forces typically exerted on focal adhesions, demonstrating that the forces required to move a cell forward are much lower than previously thought.

Publication link: http://www.nature.com/ncb/journal/v17/n4/full/ncb3134.html

Paluch Lab Website: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/lmcb/research-group/ewa-paluch-research-group