Modeling of adhesion, protrusion, and contraction coordination for cell migration simulations

Y. Sakamoto*, S. Prudhomme, M. H. Zaman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Cell migration is a highly complex, dynamical biological phenomenon that involves precise spatio-temporal coordination of distinctive sub-processes including adhesion, protrusion, and contraction of the cell. Observations of individual tumor cell migration reveal that cells generally exhibit either mesenchymal-type or amoeboid-type migration modes in native like environments. However, it has also been observed that some migrating cells are capable of morphologically adapting to their environment by modifying their type of migration. Recent studies suggest in fact that changes in biophysical and biomechanical properties of tumor cells can reversibly control their transition from one type of migration to the other. These changes may be caused by internal cell biomechanical mechanisms as well as mechanical and topological properties of the extracellular matrix. In order to understand the complex transition between the two modes and the role played by internal cellular mechanics during migration, we have developed a novel axisymmetric hyperviscoelastic cell model to simulate the dynamical behavior of a migrating cell. Numerical results from our study quantitatively demonstrate that the biomechanical properties of the cell may play an important role in the amoeboid-mesenchymal transition during migration. Our study will therefore not only help in creating a new platform for simulating cellular processes but will also provide insights into the role of sub-cellular mechanics in regulating various modes of migration during tumor invasion and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-302
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Mathematical Biology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Amoeboid
  • Cell migration
  • Finite element simulation
  • Mesenchymal
  • Spatiotemporal coordination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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