Electric field-guided collective motility initiation of large epidermal cell groups

Yaohui Sun, Brian Reid, Yan Zhang, Kan Zhu, Fernando Ferreira, Alejandro Estrada, Yuxin Sun, Bruce W. Draper, Haicen Yue, Calina Copos, Francis Lin, Yelena Y. Bernadskaya, Min Zhao, Alex Mogilner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent research has elucidated mechanochemical pathways of single cell polarization, but much less is known about collective motility initiation in adhesive cell groups. We used galvanotactic assays of zebrafish keratocyte cell groups, pharmacological perturbations, electric field switches, particle imaging velocimetry, and cell tracking to show that large cell groups initiate motility in minutes toward the cathode. Interestingly, while PI3K-inhibited single cells are biased toward the anode, inhibiting PI3K does not affect the cathode-directed cell group migration. We observed that control groups had the fastest cathode-migrating cell at the front, while the front cells in PI3K-inhibited groups were the slowest. Both control and PI3K-inhibited groups rapidly repolarized when the electric field direction was reversed, and the group migration continued after the electric field was switched off. Inhibiting myosin disrupted the cohesiveness of keratocyte groups and abolished the collective directionality and ability to switch direction when the electric field is reversed. Our data are consistent with a model according to which cells in the group sense the electric field individually and mechanical integration of the cells results in coherent group motility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberar48
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Electric field-guided collective motility initiation of large epidermal cell groups'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this