Cell Migration pp 449-460 | Cite as

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

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 769)


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 



This investigation was supported by grants from MRC, BBSRC, and Wellcome Trust. We thank Rachel Moore for corrections and comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell and Developmental BiologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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