Publications by authors named "Ruedi Meili"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The interplay between matrix deformation and the coordination of turning events governs directed neutrophil migration in 3D matrices.

Sci Adv 2021 Jul 14;7(29). Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.

Neutrophils migrating through extravascular spaces must negotiate narrow matrix pores without losing directional movement. We investigated how chemotaxing neutrophils probe matrices and adjust their migration to collagen concentration ([col]) changes by tracking 20,000 cell trajectories and quantifying cell-generated 3D matrix deformations. In low-[col] matrices, neutrophils exerted large deformations and followed straight trajectories. As [col] increased, matrix deformations decreased, and neutrophils turned often to circumvent rather than remodel matrix pores. Inhibiting protrusive or contractile forces shifted this transition to lower [col], implying that mechanics play a crucial role in defining migratory strategies. To balance frequent turning and directional bias, neutrophils used matrix obstacles as pivoting points to steer toward the chemoattractant. The Actin Related Protein 2/3 complex coordinated successive turns, thus controlling deviations from chemotactic paths. These results offer an improved understanding of the mechanisms and molecular regulators used by neutrophils during chemotaxis in restrictive 3D environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abf3882DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8279509PMC
July 2021

Two-Layer Elastographic 3-D Traction Force Microscopy.

Sci Rep 2017 01 11;7:39315. Epub 2017 Jan 11.

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineeing, University of California, San Diego.

Cellular traction force microscopy (TFM) requires knowledge of the mechanical properties of the substratum where the cells adhere to calculate cell-generated forces from measurements of substratum deformation. Polymer-based hydrogels are broadly used for TFM due to their linearly elastic behavior in the range of measured deformations. However, the calculated stresses, particularly their spatial patterns, can be highly sensitive to the substratum's Poisson's ratio. We present two-layer elastographic TFM (2LETFM), a method that allows for simultaneously measuring the Poisson's ratio of the substratum while also determining the cell-generated forces. The new method exploits the analytical solution of the elastostatic equation and deformation measurements from two layers of the substratum. We perform an in silico analysis of 2LETFM concluding that this technique is robust with respect to TFM experimental parameters, and remains accurate even for noisy measurement data. We also provide experimental proof of principle of 2LETFM by simultaneously measuring the stresses exerted by migrating Physarum amoeboae on the surface of polyacrylamide substrata, and the Poisson's ratio of the substrata. The 2LETFM method could be generalized to concurrently determine the mechanical properties and cell-generated forces in more physiologically relevant extracellular environments, opening new possibilities to study cell-matrix interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep39315DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5225457PMC
January 2017

Three-dimensional balance of cortical tension and axial contractility enables fast amoeboid migration.

Biophys J 2015 Feb;108(4):821-832

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, California; Institute for Engineering in Medicine, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, California. Electronic address:

Fast amoeboid migration requires cells to apply mechanical forces on their surroundings via transient adhesions. However, the role these forces play in controlling cell migration speed remains largely unknown. We used three-dimensional force microscopy to measure the three-dimensional forces exerted by chemotaxing Dictyostelium cells, and examined wild-type cells as well as mutants with defects in contractility, internal F-actin crosslinking, and cortical integrity. We showed that cells pull on their substrate adhesions using two distinct, yet interconnected mechanisms: axial actomyosin contractility and cortical tension. We found that the migration speed increases when axial contractility overcomes cortical tension to produce the cell shape changes needed for locomotion. We demonstrated that the three-dimensional pulling forces generated by both mechanisms are internally balanced by an increase in cytoplasmic pressure that allows cells to push on their substrate without adhering to it, and which may be relevant for amoeboid migration in complex three-dimensional environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2014.11.3478DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4336364PMC
February 2015

Cytoskeletal Mechanics Regulating Amoeboid Cell Locomotion.

Appl Mech Rev 2014 Jun;66(5)

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, Institute for Engineering in Medicine, Bioengineering Department, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.

Migrating cells exert traction forces when moving. Amoeboid cell migration is a common type of cell migration that appears in many physiological and pathological processes and is performed by a wide variety of cell types. Understanding the coupling of the biochemistry and mechanics underlying the process of migration has the potential to guide the development of pharmacological treatment or genetic manipulations to treat a wide range of diseases. The measurement of the spatiotemporal evolution of the traction forces that produce the movement is an important aspect for the characterization of the locomotion mechanics. There are several methods to calculate the traction forces exerted by the cells. Currently the most commonly used ones are traction force microscopy methods based on the measurement of the deformation induced by the cells on elastic substrate on which they are moving. Amoeboid cells migrate by implementing a motility cycle based on the sequential repetition of four phases. In this paper we review the role that specific cytoskeletal components play in the regulation of the cell migration mechanics. We investigate the role of specific cytoskeletal components regarding the ability of the cells to perform the motility cycle effectively and the generation of traction forces. The actin nucleation in the leading edge of the cell, carried by the ARP2/3 complex activated through the SCAR/WAVE complex, has shown to be fundamental to the execution of the cyclic movement and to the generation of the traction forces. The protein PIR121, a member of the SCAR/WAVE complex, is essential to the proper regulation of the periodic movement and the protein SCAR, also included in the SCAR/WAVE complex, is necessary for the generation of the traction forces during migration. The protein Myosin II, an important F-actin cross-linker and motor protein, is essential to cytoskeletal contractility and to the generation and proper organization of the traction forces during migration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/1.4026249DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4201387PMC
June 2014

Both contractile axial and lateral traction force dynamics drive amoeboid cell motility.

J Cell Biol 2014 Mar;204(6):1045-61

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and 2 Department of Bioengineering, Jacobs School of Engineering; 3 Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological Sciences; and 4 Institute for Engineering in Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093.

Chemotaxing Dictyostelium discoideum cells adapt their morphology and migration speed in response to intrinsic and extrinsic cues. Using Fourier traction force microscopy, we measured the spatiotemporal evolution of shape and traction stresses and constructed traction tension kymographs to analyze cell motility as a function of the dynamics of the cell's mechanically active traction adhesions. We show that wild-type cells migrate in a step-wise fashion, mainly forming stationary traction adhesions along their anterior-posterior axes and exerting strong contractile axial forces. We demonstrate that lateral forces are also important for motility, especially for migration on highly adhesive substrates. Analysis of two mutant strains lacking distinct actin cross-linkers (mhcA(-) and abp120(-) cells) on normal and highly adhesive substrates supports a key role for lateral contractions in amoeboid cell motility, whereas the differences in their traction adhesion dynamics suggest that these two strains use distinct mechanisms to achieve migration. Finally, we provide evidence that the above patterns of migration may be conserved in mammalian amoeboid cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201307106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3998796PMC
March 2014

Three-dimensional quantification of cellular traction forces and mechanosensing of thin substrata by fourier traction force microscopy.

PLoS One 2013 4;8(9):e69850. Epub 2013 Sep 4.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, United States of America ; Institute for Engineering in Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, United States of America.

We introduce a novel three-dimensional (3D) traction force microscopy (TFM) method motivated by the recent discovery that cells adhering on plane surfaces exert both in-plane and out-of-plane traction stresses. We measure the 3D deformation of the substratum on a thin layer near its surface, and input this information into an exact analytical solution of the elastic equilibrium equation. These operations are performed in the Fourier domain with high computational efficiency, allowing to obtain the 3D traction stresses from raw microscopy images virtually in real time. We also characterize the error of previous two-dimensional (2D) TFM methods that neglect the out-of-plane component of the traction stresses. This analysis reveals that, under certain combinations of experimental parameters (cell size, substratums' thickness and Poisson's ratio), the accuracy of 2D TFM methods is minimally affected by neglecting the out-of-plane component of the traction stresses. Finally, we consider the cell's mechanosensing of substratum thickness by 3D traction stresses, finding that, when cells adhere on thin substrata, their out-of-plane traction stresses can reach four times deeper into the substratum than their in-plane traction stresses. It is also found that the substratum stiffness sensed by applying out-of-plane traction stresses may be up to 10 times larger than the stiffness sensed by applying in-plane traction stresses.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0069850PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3762859PMC
April 2014

An Oscillatory Contractile Pole-Force Component Dominates the Traction Forces Exerted by Migrating Amoeboid Cells.

Cell Mol Bioeng 2011 Dec 29;4(4):603-615. Epub 2011 Jun 29.

We used principal component analysis to dissect the mechanics of chemotaxis of amoeboid cells into a reduced set of dominant components of cellular traction forces and shape changes. The dominant traction force component in wild-type cells accounted for ~40% of the mechanical work performed by these cells, and consisted of the cell attaching at front and back contracting the substrate towards its centroid (pole-force). The time evolution of this pole-force component was responsible for the periodic variations of cell length and strain energy that the cells underwent during migration. We identified four additional canonical components, reproducible from cell to cell, overall accounting for an additional ~20% of mechanical work, and associated with events such as lateral protrusion of pseudopodia. We analyzed mutant strains with contractility defects to quantify the role that non-muscle Myosin II (MyoII) plays in amoeboid motility. In MyoII essential light chain null cells the polar-force component remained dominant. On the other hand, MyoII heavy chain null cells exhibited a different dominant traction force component, with a marked increase in lateral contractile forces, suggesting that cortical contractility and/or enhanced lateral adhesions are important for motility in this cell line. By compressing the mechanics of chemotaxing cells into a reduced set of temporally-resolved degrees of freedom, the present study may contribute to refined models of cell migration that incorporate cell-substrate interactions. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12195-011-0184-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12195-011-0184-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3234362PMC
December 2011

The SCAR/WAVE complex is necessary for proper regulation of traction stresses during amoeboid motility.

Mol Biol Cell 2011 Nov 7;22(21):3995-4003. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

Department of Bioengineering, Jacobs School of Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

Cell migration requires a tightly regulated, spatiotemporal coordination of underlying biochemical pathways. Crucial to cell migration is SCAR/WAVE-mediated dendritic F-actin polymerization at the cell's leading edge. Our goal is to understand the role the SCAR/WAVE complex plays in the mechanics of amoeboid migration. To this aim, we measured and compared the traction stresses exerted by Dictyostelium cells lacking the SCAR/WAVE complex proteins PIR121 (pirA(-)) and SCAR (scrA(-)) with those of wild-type cells while they were migrating on flat, elastic substrates. We found that, compared to wild type, both mutant strains exert traction stresses of different strengths that correlate with their F-actin levels. In agreement with previous studies, we found that wild-type cells migrate by repeating a motility cycle in which the cell length and strain energy exerted by the cells on their substrate vary periodically. Our analysis also revealed that scrA(-) cells display an altered motility cycle with a longer period and a lower migration velocity, whereas pirA(-) cells migrate in a random manner without implementing a periodic cycle. We present detailed characterization of the traction-stress phenotypes of the various cell lines, providing new insights into the role of F-actin polymerization in regulating cell-substratum interactions and stresses required for motility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1091/mbc.E11-03-0278DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3204062PMC
November 2011

Myosin II is essential for the spatiotemporal organization of traction forces during cell motility.

Mol Biol Cell 2010 Feb 2;21(3):405-17. Epub 2009 Dec 2.

Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

Amoeboid motility requires spatiotemporal coordination of biochemical pathways regulating force generation and consists of the quasi-periodic repetition of a motility cycle driven by actin polymerization and actomyosin contraction. Using new analytical tools and statistical methods, we provide, for the first time, a statistically significant quantification of the spatial distribution of the traction forces generated at each phase of the cycle (protrusion, contraction, retraction, and relaxation). We show that cells are constantly under tensional stress and that wild-type cells develop two opposing "pole" forces pulling the front and back toward the center whose strength is modulated up and down periodically in each cycle. We demonstrate that nonmuscular myosin II complex (MyoII) cross-linking and motor functions have different roles in controlling the spatiotemporal distribution of traction forces, the changes in cell shape, and the duration of all the phases. We show that the time required to complete each phase is dramatically increased in cells with altered MyoII motor function, demonstrating that it is required not only for contraction but also for protrusion. Concomitant loss of MyoII actin cross-linking leads to a force redistribution throughout the cell perimeter pulling inward toward the center. However, it does not reduce significantly the magnitude of the traction forces, uncovering a non-MyoII-mediated mechanism for the contractility of the cell.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1091/mbc.e09-08-0703DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2814786PMC
February 2010

Spatio-temporal analysis of eukaryotic cell motility by improved force cytometry.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2007 Aug 7;104(33):13343-8. Epub 2007 Aug 7.

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

Cell motility plays an essential role in many biological systems, but precise quantitative knowledge of the biophysical processes involved in cell migration is limited. Better measurements are needed to ultimately build models with predictive capabilities. We present an improved force cytometry method and apply it to the analysis of the dynamics of the chemotactic migration of the amoeboid form of Dictyostelium discoideum. Our explicit calculation of the force field takes into account the finite thickness of the elastic substrate and improves the accuracy and resolution compared with previous methods. This approach enables us to quantitatively study the differences in the mechanics of the migration of wild-type (WT) and mutant cell lines. The time evolution of the strain energy exerted by the migrating cells on their substrate is quasi-periodic and can be used as a simple indicator of the stages of the cell motility cycle. We have found that the mean velocity of migration v and the period of the strain energy T cycle are related through a hyperbolic law v = L/T, where L is a constant step length that remains unchanged in mutants with adhesion or contraction defects. Furthermore, when cells adhere to the substrate, they exert opposing pole forces that are orders of magnitude higher than required to overcome the resistance from their environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0705815104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1940228PMC
August 2007

G protein-independent Ras/PI3K/F-actin circuit regulates basic cell motility.

J Cell Biol 2007 Jul;178(2):185-91

Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)gamma and Dictyostelium PI3K are activated via G protein-coupled receptors through binding to the Gbetagamma subunit and Ras. However, the mechanistic role(s) of Gbetagamma and Ras in PI3K activation remains elusive. Furthermore, the dynamics and function of PI3K activation in the absence of extracellular stimuli have not been fully investigated. We report that gbeta null cells display PI3K and Ras activation, as well as the reciprocal localization of PI3K and PTEN, which lead to local accumulation of PI(3,4,5)P(3). Simultaneous imaging analysis reveals that in the absence of extracellular stimuli, autonomous PI3K and Ras activation occur, concurrently, at the same sites where F-actin projection emerges. The loss of PI3K binding to Ras-guanosine triphosphate abolishes this PI3K activation, whereas prevention of PI3K activity suppresses autonomous Ras activation, suggesting that PI3K and Ras form a positive feedback circuit. This circuit is associated with both random cell migration and cytokinesis and may have initially evolved to control stochastic changes in the cytoskeleton.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1083/jcb.200611138DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2064438PMC
July 2007

Rho Rocks PTEN.

Nat Cell Biol 2005 Apr;7(4):334-5

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncb0405-334DOI Listing
April 2005

Rac regulation of chemotaxis and morphogenesis in Dictyostelium.

EMBO J 2004 Oct 7;23(21):4177-89. Epub 2004 Oct 7.

Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0380, USA.

Chemotaxis requires localized F-actin polymerization at the site of the plasma membrane closest to the chemoattractant source, a process controlled by Rac/Cdc42 GTPases. We identify Dictyostelium RacB as an essential mediator of this process. RacB is activated upon chemoattractant stimulation, exhibiting biphasic kinetics paralleling F-actin polymerization. racB null cells have strong chemotaxis and morphogenesis defects and a severely reduced chemoattractant-mediated F-actin polymerization and PAKc activation. RacB activation is partly controlled by the PI3K pathway. pi3k1/2 null cells and wild-type cells treated with LY294002 exhibit a significantly reduced second peak of RacB activation, which is linked to pseudopod extension, whereas a PTEN hypomorph exhibits elevated RacB activation. We identify a RacGEF, RacGEF1, which has specificity for RacB in vitro. racgef1 null cells exhibit reduced RacB activation and cells expressing mutant RacGEF1 proteins display chemotaxis and morphogenesis defects. RacGEF1 localizes to sites of F-actin polymerization. Inhibition of this localization reduces RacB activation, suggesting a feedback loop from RacB via F-actin polymerization to RacGEF1. Our findings provide a critical linkage between chemoattractant stimulation, F-actin polymerization, and chemotaxis in Dictyostelium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.emboj.7600368DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC524383PMC
October 2004

Two poles and a compass.

Cell 2003 Jul;114(2):153-6

Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological Sciences and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

Rho GTPases control fundamental aspects of neutrophil chemotaxis: establishment of front and back and orientation toward the chemoattractant. Two reports in this issue show that activated Cdc42 at the leading edge helps orient the cell's axis in a signaling complex with G beta gamma, PAK1, and PIX alpha; while Rho, activated via G alpha 13, mediates formation of the uropod, which then interacts by mutual negative feedback with the front to reinforce polarization (Li et al., 2003 [this issue of Cell]; Xu et al., [this issue of Cell]).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0092-8674(03)00553-1DOI Listing
July 2003

A PTEN-related 5-phosphatidylinositol phosphatase localized in the Golgi.

J Biol Chem 2003 Oct 23;278(41):39866-73. Epub 2003 Jul 23.

Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0634, USA.

Phosphoinositides play important roles as signaling molecules in different cell compartments by regulating the localization and activity of proteins through their interaction with specific domains. The activity of these lipids depends on which sites on the inositol ring are phosphorylated. Signaling pathways dependent on phosphoinositides phosphorylated at the D3 position of this ring (3-phosphoinositides) are negatively regulated by 3-phosphoinositide-specific phosphatases that include PTEN and myotubularin. Using the conserved PTEN catalytic core motif, we have identified a new protein in the Dictyostelium genome called phospholipid-inositol phosphatase (PLIP), which defines a new subfamily of phosphoinositide phosphatases clearly distinct from PTEN or other closely related proteins. We show that PLIP is able to dephosphorylate a broad spectrum of phosphoinositides, including 3-phosphoinositides. In contrast to previously characterized phosphoinositide phosphatases, PLIP has a preference for phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate, a newly discovered phosphoinositide. We found that PLIP is localized in the Golgi, with its phosphatase domain facing the cytoplasmic compartment. PLIP null cells created via homologous recombination are unable to effectively aggregate to form multicellular organisms at low cell densities. The presence of PLIP in the Golgi suggests that it may be involved in membrane trafficking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M306318200DOI Listing
October 2003

Follow the leader.

Dev Cell 2003 Mar;4(3):291-3

Division of Biological Sciences and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0634, USA.

Upon starvation, individual Dictyostelium amoebae chemotax toward aggregation centers in tightly packed streams in which cells are organized in head-to-tail chains. A recent report in Cell shows that this behavior requires localization of adenylyl cyclase and the production and secretion of the chemoattractant cAMP at the posterior of individual cells. These findings suggest a relay and communication system to regulate the long-range coordinated movement of cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1534-5807(03)00064-9DOI Listing
March 2003

Leading the way.

Nat Cell Biol 2002 Jul;4(7):E171

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncb0702-e171DOI Listing
July 2002

Spatial and temporal regulation of 3-phosphoinositides by PI 3-kinase and PTEN mediates chemotaxis.

Cell 2002 May;109(5):611-23

Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biology, Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

We have investigated the mechanisms of leading edge formation in chemotaxing Dictyostelium cells. We demonstrate that while phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) transiently translocates to the plasma membrane in response to chemoattractant stimulation and to the leading edge in chemotaxing cells, PTEN, a negative regulator of PI3K pathways, exhibits a reciprocal pattern of localization. By uniformly localizing PI3K along the plasma membrane, we show that chemotaxis pathways are activated along the lateral sides of cells and PI3K can initiate pseudopod formation, providing evidence for a direct instructional role of PI3K in leading edge formation. These findings provide evidence that differential subcellular localization and activation of PI3K and PTEN is required for proper chemotaxis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0092-8674(02)00755-9DOI Listing
May 2002