Cell Migration

Volume 769 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 449-460


Beads on the Run: Beads as Alternative Tools for Chemotaxis Assays

  • Eric Theveneau
  • , Roberto MayorAffiliated withDepartment of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London Email author 

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Cell migration is required for a wide variety of processes from bacteria seeking for food to correct patterning of neuronal networks. The ability to sense external cues is critical for cells to get directions and reach their goals. So far, studies on chemotaxis have mainly focused their attention on individual cells and therefore available tools are designed to monitor cell behavior at the single cell level. However, as collective cell migration is now widely accepted as a main mode of cell migration from development to cancer, the question of how chemotaxis is achieved has also to be asked on a bigger scale. Here, we present two chemotaxis assays suitable for single cells, cell sheets, and cell explants. Using a simple combination of heparin-coated beads and high vacuum silicone grease, these techniques can be adapted to a wide variety of culture conditions. They allow time-lapse study, high-resolution microscopy, and can be set up at no extra cost.

Key words

Chemotaxis Chemokine Growth factors Collective cell migration Cell culture Neural crest Mesoderm Growth cone Xenopus