Excitable behavior in amoeboid chemotaxis

Changji Shi, Pablo A. Iglesias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chemotaxis, the directed motion of cells in response to chemical gradients, is a fundamental process. Eukaryotic cells detect spatial differences in chemoattractant receptor occupancy with high precision and use these differences to bias the location of actin-rich protrusions to guide their movement. Research into chemotaxis has benefitted greatly from a systems biology approach that combines novel experimental and computational tools to pose and test hypotheses. Recently, one such hypothesis has been postulated proposing that chemotaxis in eukaryotic cells is mediated by locally biasing the activity of an underlying excitable system. The excitable system hypothesis can account for a number of cellular behaviors related to chemotaxis, including the stochastic nature of the movement of unstimulated cells, the directional bias imposed by chemoattractant gradients, and the observed spatial and temporal distribution of signaling and cytoskeleton proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-642
Number of pages12
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)


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