Chase-and-run dynamics in cell motility and the molecular rupture of interacting active elastic dimers

David Mayett, Nicholas Bitten, Moumita Das, J. M. Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cell migration in morphogenesis and cancer metastasis typically involves interplay between different cell types. We construct and study a minimal, one-dimensional model composed of two different motile cells with each cell represented as an active elastic dimer. The interaction between the two cells via cadherins is modeled as a spring that can rupture beyond a threshold force as it undergoes dynamic loading from the interacting motile cells. We obtain a phase diagram consisting of chase-and-run dynamics and clumping dynamics as a function of the stiffness of the interaction spring and the threshold force and, therefore, posit that active rupture, or rupture via active forces, is a mechanosensitive means to regulate dynamics between cells. Since the parameters in the model differentiate between N- and E-cadherins, we make predictions for the interactions between a placodelike cell and a neural crestlike cell in a microchannel as well as discuss how our results inform chase-and-run dynamics found in a group of placode cells interacting with a group of neural crest cells. In particular, an argument was made in the latter case that the feedback between cadherins and cell-substrate interaction via integrins was necessary to obtain the chase-and-run behavior. Based on our two-cell results, we argue that this feedback accentuates, but is not necessary for, the chase-and-run behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number032407
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 11 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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