An instability at the edge of a tissue of collectively migrating cells can lead to finger formation during wound healing
1 Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA
2 Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
a e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
b Those authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 9 January 2014
Revised: 14 April 2014
Published online: 12 June 2014
In wound healing assays, a monolayer of epithelial cells is allowed to migrate onto empty surface area. When the motile cells close the artificial wound, the edge of the tissue does usually not move uniformly but characteristic fingerlike protrusions are observed. We model the collectively moving cells as a system of self-propelled particles using the Toner-Tu equations for an active fluid. A linear stability analysis of perturbations at the tissue edge reveals an instability in the disordered nonmoving state. The instability is purely due to spontaneous motility and velocity alignment between cells. It can account for finger formation in wound healing experiments.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2014