Spatial distribution of filament elasticity determines the migratory behaviors of a cell

Hans I.Chen Harn, Chao Kai Hsu, Yang Kao Wang, Yi Wei Huang, Wen Tai Chiu, Hsi Hui Lin, Chao Min Cheng, Ming Jer Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Any cellular response leading to morphological changes is highly tuned to balance the force generated from structural reorganization, provided by actin cytoskeleton. Actin filaments serve as the backbone of intracellular force, and transduce external mechanical signal via focal adhesion complex into the cell. During migration, cells not only undergo molecular changes but also rapid mechanical modulation. Here we focus on determining, the role of spatial distribution of mechanical changes of actin filaments in epithelial, mesenchymal, fibrotic and cancer cells with non-migration, directional migration, and non-directional migration behaviors using the atomic force microscopy. We found 1) non-migratory cells only generated one type of filament elasticity, 2) cells generating spatially distributed two types of filament elasticity showed directional migration, and 3) pathologic cells that autonomously generated two types of filament elasticity without spatial distribution were actively migrating non-directionally. The demonstration of spatial regulation of filament elasticity of different cell types at the nano-scale highlights the coupling of cytoskeletal function with physical characters at the sub-cellular level, and provides new research directions for migration related disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-377
Number of pages10
JournalCell Adhesion and Migration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 3

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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