Epithelial Cell Tail Formation and Retraction Dynamics
Jilin Jou (周基霖)1*, Lin I (伊林)1
1Department of Physics, National Central University, Jhongli, Taiwan
* presenting author:Jilin Jou, email:fig31415926@livemail.tw
Cell migration influences several biological processes, such as embryonic development, wound healing, tumor metastasis, chronic inflammatory disease, etc.. The formation and retraction of the cell tail trailing the cell body play important roles in the cell migration process. In this work, we experimentally investigate the formation and the retraction dynamics of epithelial cells on 2D substrates with fibronectin coating, through time lapse video microscopy. It is found that the tail formation can be classified into passive and active types. The former is originated from an anchored point on the rear part of the forward moving cell, and the latter is through turning an initially extruded arm into a tail when the cell body reverses its direction. The overstretching of the tail by initial tail protrusion or cell body motion causes the formation of a long narrow tail, with a blobbing or a tapered end, depending whether it is due to the active or passive process. Otherwise, a short cusp shape tail can be formed. Tail retraction exhibits slow retraction follows by the sudden slip retraction after the release of focal adhesion. The initial tail shape strongly affects the tail shape instability developed in the slipping process. The role played by the releasing of the anchorage, membrane and cortex surface tension, and actin filament depolymerization, material relaxation, are discussed.

Keywords: tail retraction, tail formation, epithelial cell, stick-slip retraction, instability