The Regulation of Cell Motility Through an Excitable Network

Sayak Bhattacharya, Pablo A. Iglesias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recent years have demonstrated that the actin cytoskeleton and other signaling elements in motile cells have many of the hallmarks of an excitable medium, including the presence of propagating waves, a refractory period, as well as a threshold for activation. Here we show how these behaviors can be explained by the presence of a signal transduction excitable network that integrates a number of signals and coordinates actin polymerization. In this model, spontaneous triggering of the excitable network accounts for the random migration of unstimulated cells. Moreover, internal and external signals both chemical and mechanical bias excitability spatially, thus providing a means by which cell motility is directed towards spatial cues. We also show how the model predicts that the set point of the excitable system can be altered by changing the threshold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-363
Number of pages7
JournalFoundations of Systems Biology in Engineering - FOSBE 2016: Magdeburg, Germany, 9—12 October 2016
Issue number26
StatePublished - 2016


  • Excitable systems
  • cell motility
  • thresholds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering


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