skip to main content


Title: Absorbing–active transition in a multi-cellular system regulated by a dynamic force network
Collective cell migration in 3D extracellular matrix (ECM) is crucial to many physiological and pathological processes. Migrating cells can generate active pulling forces via actin filament contraction, which are transmitted to the ECM fibers and lead to a dynamically evolving force network in the system. Here, we elucidate the role of this force network in regulating collective cell behaviors using a minimal active-particle-on-network (APN) model, in which active particles can pull the fibers and hop between neighboring nodes of the network following local durotaxis. Our model reveals a dynamic transition as the particle number density approaches a critical value, from an “absorbing” state containing isolated stationary small particle clusters, to an “active” state containing a single large cluster undergoing constant dynamic reorganization. This reorganization is dominated by a subset of highly dynamic “radical” particles in the cluster, whose number also exhibits a transition at the same critical density. The transition is underlaid by the percolation of “influence spheres” due to the particle pulling forces. Our results suggest a robust mechanism based on ECM-mediated mechanical coupling for collective cell behaviors in 3D ECM.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1844627
NSF-PAR ID:
10159346
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Soft Matter
Volume:
15
Issue:
35
ISSN:
1744-683X
Page Range / eLocation ID:
6938 to 6945
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Cells interacting over an extracellular matrix (ECM) exhibit emergent behaviors, which are often observably different from single-cell dynamics. Fibroblasts embedded in a 3-D ECM, for example, compact the surrounding gel and generate an anisotropic strain field, which cannot be observed in single cellinduced gel compaction. This emergent matrix behavior results from collective intracellular mechanical interaction and is crucial to explain the large deformations and mechanical tensions that occur during embryogenesis, tissue development and wound healing. Prediction of multi-cellular interactions entails nonlinear dynamic simulation, which is prohibitively complex to compute using first principles especially as the number of cells increase. Here, we introduce a new methodology for predicting nonlinear behaviors of multiple cells interacting mechanically through a 3D ECM. In the proposed method, we first apply Dual- Faceted Linearization to nonlinear dynamic systems describing cell/matrix behavior. Using this unique linearization method, the original nonlinear state equations can be expressed with a pair of linear dynamic equations by augmenting the independent state variables with auxiliary variables which are nonlinearly dependent on the original states. Furthermore, we can find a reduced order latent space representation of the dynamic equations by orthogonal projection onto the basis of a lower dimensional linear manifold within the augmented variable space. Once converted to latent variable equations, we superpose multiple dynamic systems to predict their collective behaviors. The method is computationally efficient and accurate as demonstrated through its application for prediction of emergent cell induced ECM compaction. 
    more » « less
  2. Many types of animal cells exert active, contractile forces and mechanically deform their elastic substrate, to accomplish biological functions such as migration. These substrate deformations provide a mechanism in principle by which cells may sense other cells, leading to long-range mechanical inter–cell interactions and possible self-organization. Here, inspired by cell mechanobiology, we propose an active matter model comprising self-propelling particles that interact at a distance through their mutual deformations of an elastic substrate. By combining a minimal model for the motility of individual particles with a linear elastic model that accounts for substrate-mediated, inter–particle interactions, we examine emergent collective states that result from the interplay of motility and long-range elastic dipolar interactions. In particular, we show that particles self-assemble into flexible, motile chains which can cluster to form diverse larger-scale compact structures with polar order. By computing key structural and dynamical metrics, we distinguish between the collective states at weak and strong elastic interaction strength, as well as at low and high motility. We also show how these states are affected by confinement within a channel geometry–an important characteristic of the complex mechanical micro-environment inhabited by cells. Our model predictions may be generally applicable to active matter with dipolar interactions ranging from biological cells to synthetic colloids endowed with electric or magnetic dipole moments. 
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    Many-body interactions in systems of active matter can cause particles to move collectively and self-organize into dynamic structures with long-range order. In cells, the self-assembly of cytoskeletal filaments is critical for cellular motility, structure, intracellular transport, and division. Semiflexible cytoskeletal filaments driven by polymerization or motor-protein interactions on a two-dimensional substrate, such as the cell cortex, can induce filament bending and curvature leading to interesting collective behavior. For example, the bacterial cell-division filament FtsZ is known to have intrinsic curvature that causes it to self-organize into rings and vortices, and recent experiments reconstituting the collective motion of microtubules driven by motor proteins on a surface have observed chiral symmetry breaking of the collective behavior due to motor-induced curvature of the filaments. Previous work on the self-organization of driven filament systems have not studied the effects of curvature and filament structure on collective behavior. In this work, we present Brownian dynamics simulation results of driven semiflexible filaments with intrinsic curvature and investigate how the interplay between filament rigidity and radius of curvature can tune the self-organization behavior in homochiral systems and heterochiral mixtures. We find a curvature-induced reorganization from polar flocks to self-sorted chiral clusters, which is modified by filament flexibility. This transition changes filament transport from ballistic to diffusive at long timescales. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    The transport of particles and fluids through multichannel microfluidic networks is influenced by details of the channels. Because channels have micro-scale textures and macro-scale geometries, this transport can differ from the case of ideally smooth channels. Surfaces of real channels have irregular boundary conditions to which streamlines adapt and with which particle interact. In low-Reynolds number flows, particles may experience inertial forces that result in trans-streamline movement and the reorganization of particle distributions. Such transport is intrinsically 3D and an accurate measurement must capture movement in all directions. To measure the effects of non-ideal surface textures on particle transport through complex networks, we developed an extended field-of-view 3D macroscope for high-resolution tracking across large volumes ($$25\,\hbox {mm} \times 25\,\hbox {mm} \times 2\,\hbox {mm}$$25mm×25mm×2mm) and investigated a model multichannel microfluidic network. A topographical profile of the microfluidic surfaces provided lattice Boltzmann simulations with a detailed feature map to precisely reconstruct the experimental environment. Particle distributions from simulations closely reproduced those observed experimentally and both measurements were sensitive to the effects of surface roughness. Under the conditions studied, inertial focusing organized large particles into an annular distribution that limited their transport throughout the network while small particles were transported uniformly to all regions.

     
    more » « less
  5. Summary Lay Description

    Particles are widely used as probes in life sciences through their motions. In single molecule techniques such as optical tweezers and magnetic tweezers, microbeads are used to study intermolecular or intramolecular interactions via beads tracking. Also tracking multiple beads’ motions could study cell–cell or cell–ECM interactions in traction force microscopy. Therefore, particle tracking is of key important during these researches. However, parallel 3D multiple particle tracking in real‐time with high resolution is a challenge either due to the algorithm or the program. Here, we combine the performance of CPU and CUDA‐based GPU to make a hybrid implementation for particle tracking. In this way, a speedup of 137 is obtained compared the program before only with CPU without loss of accuracy. Moreover, we improve and build a new centrifugal force microscope for multiple single molecule force spectroscopy research in parallel. Then we employed our program into centrifugal force microscope for DNA stretching study. Our results not only demonstrate the application of this program in single molecule techniques, also indicate the capability of multiple single molecule study with centrifugal force microscopy.

     
    more » « less