Interplay between chemotaxis and contact inhibition of locomotion determines exploratory cell migration

Benjamin Lin, Taofei Yin, Yi I. Wu, Takanari Inoue, Andre Levchenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Directed cell migration in native environments is influenced by multiple migratory cues. These cues may include simultaneously occurring attractive soluble growth factor gradients and repulsive effects arising from cell-cell contact, termed contact inhibition of locomotion (CIL). How single cells reconcile potentially conflicting cues remains poorly understood. Here we show that a dynamic crosstalk between epidermal growth factor (EGF)-mediated chemotaxis and CIL guides metastatic breast cancer cell motility, whereby cells become progressively insensitive to CIL in a chemotactic input-dependent manner. This balance is determined via integration of protrusion-enhancing signalling from EGF gradients and protrusion-suppressing signalling induced by CIL, mediated in part through EphB. Our results further suggest that EphB and EGF signalling inputs control protrusion formation by converging onto regulation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K). We propose that this intricate interplay may enhance the spread of loose cell ensembles in pathophysiological conditions such as cancer, and possibly other physiological settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6619
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Apr 8 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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