Excitable waves at the margin of the contact area between a cell and a substrate.

O. Ali, C. Albigès-Rizo, M. R. Block, & B. Fourcade

Phys. Biol, 6(2), p.025010. (2009)


In this paper, we study a new physical mechanism to generate an activator field which signals the extreme margin of the contact area between an adherent cell and the substrate. This mechanism is based on the coupling between the adhesive bridges connecting the substrate to the cytoskeleton and a cytosolic activator. Once activated by adhesion on the adhesive bridges, this activator is free to diffuse on the membrane. We propose that this activator is part of the mecano-transduction pathway which links adhesion to actin polymerization and, thus, to cellular motility. The consequences of our model are as follows: (a) the activator is localized at the rim of the contact area, (b) the adhesion is reinforced at the margin of the contact area between the cell and the substrate, (c) excitable waves of the activator can propagate along the adhesion rim.