Many cells in our bodies are on the move and somehow seem to “know” where to go. But how do they learn the location of their destination? This question is key to understanding phenomena such as the renewal of cells in our body, the migration of cancer cells, and especially how wounds heal. Edouard Hannezo and his group at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) in collaboration with Tsuyoshi Hirashima and his student at Kyoto University propose a new model of information transfer in which cells utilize long-distance traveling waves in a self-organized manner to close a wound. This study was recently published in the journal Nature Physics.
The researchers built a mathematical model to describe the interactions within a layer of cells on a substrate, similar to a layer of skin. These cells contain chemical signalers — proteins — that allow them to sense other