Image_1_Stochastic Methods for Inferring States of Cell Migration.JPEG (477.92 kB)

Image_1_Stochastic Methods for Inferring States of Cell Migration.JPEG

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posted on 10.07.2020 by R. J. Allen, C. Welch, Neha Pankow, Klaus M. Hahn, Timothy C. Elston

Cell migration refers to the ability of cells to translocate across a substrate or through a matrix. To achieve net movement requires spatiotemporal regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. Computational approaches are necessary to identify and quantify the regulatory mechanisms that generate directed cell movement. To address this need, we developed computational tools, based on stochastic modeling, to analyze time series data for the position of randomly migrating cells. Our approach allows parameters that characterize cell movement to be efficiently estimated from cell track data. We applied our methods to analyze the random migration of Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts (MEFS) and HeLa cells. Our analysis revealed that MEFs exist in two distinct states of migration characterized by differences in cell speed and persistence, whereas HeLa cells only exhibit a single state. Further analysis revealed that the Rho-family GTPase RhoG plays a role in determining the properties of the two migratory states of MEFs. An important feature of our computational approach is that it provides a method for predicting the current migration state of an individual cell from time series data. Finally, we applied our computational methods to HeLa cells expressing a Rac1 biosensor. The Rac1 biosensor is known to perturb movement when expressed at overly high concentrations; at these expression levels the HeLa cells showed two migratory states, which correlated with differences in the spatial distribution of active Rac1.