Cell Chirality Induces Collective Cell Migration in Epithelial Sheets

Physical Review Letters
Katsuhiko SatoTatsuo Shibata


During early development, epithelial cells form a monolayer sheet and migrate in a uniform direction. Here, we address how this collective migration can occur without breaking the cell-to-cell attachments. Repeated contraction and expansion of the cell-to-cell interfaces enables the cells to rearrange their positions autonomously within the sheet. We show that when the interface tension is strengthened in a direction that is tilted from the body axis, cell rearrangements occur in such a way that unidirectional movement is induced. We use a vertex model to demonstrate that such anisotropic tension can generate the unidirectional motion of cell sheets. Our results suggest that cell chirality facilitates collective cell migration during tissue morphogenesis.


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