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Type: Journal article
Title: Assessing the role of spatial correlations during collective cell spreading
Author: Treloar, K.
Simpson, M.
Binder, B.
McElwain, D.
Baker, R.
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2014; 4(1):5713-1-5713-8
Publisher: Nature
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 2045-2322
Statement of
Katrina K. Treloar, Matthew J. Simpson, Benjamin J. Binder, D. L. Sean McElwain, Ruth E. Baker
Abstract: Spreading cell fronts are essential features of development, repair and disease processes. Many mathematical models used to describe the motion of cell fronts, such as Fisher's equation, invoke a mean-field assumption which implies that there is no spatial structure, such as cell clustering, present. Here, we examine the presence of spatial structure using a combination of in vitro circular barrier assays, discrete random walk simulations and pair correlation functions. In particular, we analyse discrete simulation data using pair correlation functions to show that spatial structure can form in a spreading population of cells either through sufficiently strong cell-to-cell adhesion or sufficiently rapid cell proliferation. We analyse images from a circular barrier assay describing the spreading of a population of MM127 melanoma cells using the same pair correlation functions. Our results indicate that the spreading melanoma cell populations remain very close to spatially uniform, suggesting that the strength of cell-to-cell adhesion and the rate of cell proliferation are both sufficiently small so as not to induce any spatial patterning in the spreading populations.
Keywords: Applied mathematics; cellular motility; computational biophysics
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder in order to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
DOI: 10.1038/srep05713
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Mathematical Sciences publications

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