Growth factors stimulate sustained cell migration as well as inducing select acute motility-related events such as membrane ruffling and disruption of focal adhesions. However, an in-depth understanding of the characteristics of sustained migration that are regulated by growth factor signals is lacking: how the biochemical signals are related to physical processes underlying locomotion, and how these events are coordinately influenced by interplay between growth factor and matrix substratum signals. To address these issues, we studied sustained migration of NR6 fibroblasts on a complex human matrix substratum, Amgel, comparing effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) treatment across a range of Amgel levels. In the absence of EGF, cell migration speed and directional persistence are relatively independent of Amgel level, whereas in the presence of EGF speed is increased at intermediate Amgel levels but not at low and high Amgel levels while directional persistence is decreased at intermediate but not at low and high Amgel levels. The net effect of EGF is to increase the frequency of changes in the cell direction, and at the same time to slightly increase the path-length and thereby greatly enhance random dispersion of cells. Despite increasing migration speed during long-term sustained migration EGF treatment does not lead to significantly increased absolute rates of membrane extension in contrast to its well-known elicitation of membrane ruffling in the short term. However, EGF treatment does decrease cell spread area, yielding an apparent enhancement of specific membrane extension rate, i.e. normalized to cell spread area. Cell movement speed and directional persistence are thus, respectively, directly related and indirectly related to the increase in specific membrane extension rate (alternatively, the decrease in cell spread area) induced by EGF treatment during sustained migration. These results indicate that growth factor and matrix substrata coordinately regulate sustained cell migration through combined governance of underlying physical processes.
Epidermal growth factor alters fibroblast migration speed and directional persistence reciprocally and in a matrix-dependent manner
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M.F. Ware, A. Wells, D.A. Lauffenburger; Epidermal growth factor alters fibroblast migration speed and directional persistence reciprocally and in a matrix-dependent manner. J Cell Sci 15 August 1998; 111 (16): 2423–2432. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.111.16.2423
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