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Following slime mould activity as a model of collective cell migration - as in wound healing

23 August 2020

Follow My Lead

Life is simple if you’re a Dictyostelium slime mould. Most of the time, you spend your days as a free-living single cell in the soil. But when things get tough and food starts running low, you and all your friends send out signals enabling you to come together to form a tiny ‘slug’ that can move further afield in search of a better life. Certain genetic changes (mutations) prevent this slug from forming, but even these mutant slime mould cells can still work together by playing a miniature game of ‘follow my leader’. This video shows individual cells making contact and forming a travelling band that moves together in the same direction in response to chemical signals. This collective cell migration might also underpin many processes in development and disease in more complex animals, such as forming organs and limbs, wound healing, and enabling cancers to spread around the body.

Written by Kat Arney

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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