EPJ Plus Highlight - A deeper understanding of how cells move and stick together

Typical cell adhesion configurations. Understanding how cells adhere is key to understanding the process allowing cells to form cohesive tissues

The way cells adhere to surfaces is an important element in allowing them to form cohesive tissues. A new study looks at how cells stick to a surface and spread across it.

Observing how cells stick to surfaces and their motility is vitally important in the study of tissue maintenance, wound healing and even understanding how cancers progress. A new paper published in EPJ Plus, by Raj Kumar Sadhu, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, takes a step towards a deeper understanding of these processes.

“Cell adhesion is the ability of a cell to stick to another cell or an extracellular matrix. This process is important in order to understand how cells interact and coordinate their behaviour in multicellular organisms,” says sadhu. “We theoretically model the adhesion of a cell-like vesicle by describing the cell as a three-dimensional vesicle adhering on a flat substrate with a constant adhesion interaction.”

Alongside his co-authors, Sadhu set about exploring the role of membrane-bound curvature sensitive proteins and the forces that act on the cytoskeleton — the network of interlinking protein filaments found in the cytoplasm of all cells — during the adhesion process. The team discovered that curved proteins enhance the adhesion process considerably, especially when coupled with active cytoskeleton forces.

“Our work shows that the curved membrane proteins, coupled with the pushing force due to the cytoskeleton, can play a key role in the cell adhesion process,” adds Sadhu. “In addition, we showed that these minimal ingredients are sufficient to produce a motile shape that closely resembles migrating cells. Our present work will motivate more research in this direction.”

One aspect of the research that pleasantly surprised the team was the fact that the relatively simple model they created could not just describe cell adhesion, but also allowed them to capture cell movement as well. The resultant paper belongs to the Topical Collection Focus Point on Mechanobiology across Scales, edited by M. Ben Amar, A. Boudaoud and M. Lenz.

“Physical principles of shape, curvature and forces, combine to give living cells their shapes,” concludes Sadhu. “We show that the cells can have a variety of dynamic shapes, which spontaneously arise due to physical principles, and control the function of the cells in our bodies.”

The team will seek to improve on this current study by examining the adhesion of cells on more complex surfaces. This will include curved surfaces, those with adhesion gradients, and others upon which adhesive elements are temporary.

This was our first experience of publishing with EPJ Web of Conferences. We contacted the publisher in the middle of September, just one month prior to the Conference, but everything went through smoothly. We have had published MNPS Proceedings with different publishers in the past, and would like to tell that the EPJ Web of Conferences team was probably the best, very quick, helpful and interactive. Typically, we were getting responses from EPJ Web of Conferences team within less than an hour and have had help at every production stage.
We are very thankful to Solange Guenot, Web of Conferences Publishing Editor, and Isabelle Houlbert, Web of Conferences Production Editor, for their support. These ladies are top-level professionals, who made a great contribution to the success of this issue. We are fully satisfied with the publication of the Conference Proceedings and are looking forward to further cooperation. The publication was very fast, easy and of high quality. My colleagues and I strongly recommend EPJ Web of Conferences to anyone, who is interested in quick high-quality publication of conference proceedings.

On behalf of the Organizing and Program Committees and Editorial Team of MNPS-2019, Dr. Alexey B. Nadykto, Moscow State Technological University “STANKIN”, Moscow, Russia. EPJ Web of Conferences vol. 224 (2019)

ISSN: 2100-014X (Electronic Edition)

© EDP Sciences