Morphological study of membrane behavior of human fibroblast cell during redirectional migration process
Cell migration has been studied for half a century to reveal the mechanisms of related life and multicellular activities like embryogenesis in development biology, tissue invasion and tumor metastasis in oncology, biomedical material development in biomedical engineering, and some other biological fields.
Cell migration could be recognized by several steps. Two membrane protruding structures, filopodia and lamellipodia, locate near the front edge providing the protruding force to the cell migration and lying down the focal adhesions behind to fix the cell on the substrate and gain contractile force from the myosin-actin interaction. The release of focal adhesions near the lagging edge leads to the detachment of the rear end then disrupts the cell-substrate conjunction. However, the cell reaction to obstacle during the migration has been rarely studied. In this research, a boundary between a preferred substrate and a non-preferred one was created by sputtered germanium on a plastic culturing surface. Nano-gold particles were applied for migration speed and directional persistence tracking. The interaction between the cells and the boundary studied with scanning electron microscope (SEM) revealed the according changes of membrane structures resulted from cell redirecting at the edge of non-preferred substrate. The shape analysis of cell includes the their edge being traced with Photoshop and computerized by program to synthesize the statistical data showing the morphological features of cell membrane changing throughout the migration redirection process.
This is a research of a bold idea and great creativity in methology on cell migration; it revealed the morphological features related to cell random walking on a uniformed or a gradient substrate, which is meaningful to understand cell contact inhibition related problems in tumor metastasis and its therapeutic treatments.