Cooperation of dual modes of cell motility promotes epithelial stress relaxation to accelerate wound healing

by Michael F. Staddon, Dapeng Bi, A. Pasha Tabatabai, Visar Ajeti, Michael P. Murrell, Shiladitya Banerjee

Collective cell migration in cohesive units is vital for tissue morphogenesis, wound repair, and immune response. While the fundamental driving forces for collective cell motion stem from contractile and protrusive activities of individual cells, it remains unknown how their balance is optimized to maintain tissue cohesiveness and the fluidity for motion. Here we present a cell-based computational model for collective cell migration during wound healing that incorporates mechanochemical coupling of cell motion and adhesion kinetics with stochastic transformation of active motility forces. We show that a balance of protrusive motility and actomyosin contractility is optimized for accelerating the rate of wound repair, which is robust to variations in cell and substrate mechanical properties. This balance underlies rapid collective cell motion during wound healing, resulting from a tradeoff between tension mediated collective cell guidance and active stress relaxation in the tissue.

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