Symmetry Breaking during Cell Movement in the Context of Excitability, Kinetic Fine-Tuning and Memory of Pseudopod Formation

van Haastert, P. J. M., 30-Jul-2020, In : Cells. 9, 8, 10 p., 1809.

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The path of moving eukaryotic cells depends on the kinetics and direction of extending pseudopods. Amoeboid cells constantly change their shape with pseudopods extending in different directions. Detailed analysis has revealed that time, place and direction of pseudopod extension are not random, but highly ordered with strong prevalence for only one extending pseudopod, with defined life-times, and with reoccurring events in time and space indicative of memory. Important components are Ras activation and the formation of branched F-actin in the extending pseudopod and inhibition of pseudopod formation in the contractile cortex of parallel F-actin/myosin. In biology, order very often comes with symmetry. In this essay, I discuss cell movement and the dynamics of pseudopod extension from the perspective of symmetry and symmetry changes of Ras activation and the formation of branched F-actin in the extending pseudopod. Combining symmetry of Ras activation with kinetics and memory of pseudopod extension results in a refined model of amoeboid movement that appears to be largely conserved in the fast moving Dictyostelium and neutrophils, the slow moving mesenchymal stem cells and the fungus B.d. chytrid.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1809
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 30-Jul-2020


  • pseudopod, Ras activation, cytoskeleton, Dictyostelium, chemotaxis, neutrophils, ACTIN-FILAMENTS, ACTIVATION, MOTILITY, NETWORKS, CORTEX, KINASE, RAS

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