DOI: 0912.0508Dec 2, 2009Paper

A Biomechanical Model for Dictyostelium Motility

Mathias BuenemannLeonard M. Sander


The crawling motion of Dictyostelium discoideum on substrata involves a number of coordinated events including cell contractions and cell protrusions. The mechanical forces exerted on the substratum during these contractions have recently been quantified using traction force experiments. Based on the results from these experiments, we present a biomechanical model of Dictyostelium discoideum motility with an emphasis on the adhesive properties of the cell-substratum contact. Our model assumes that the cell contracts at a constant rate and is bound to the substratum by adhesive bridges which are modeled as elastic springs. These bridges are established at a spatially uniform rate while detachment occurs at a spatially varying, load-dependent rate. Using Monte-Carlo simulations and assuming a rigid substratum, we find that the cell speed depends only weakly on the adhesive properties of the cell-substratum, in agreement with experimental data. Varying the parameters that control the adhesive and contractile properties of the cell we are able to make testable predictions. We also extend our model to include a flexible substrate and show that our model is able to produce substratum deformations and force patterns that are quantit...Continue Reading

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