Electric fields originating inside an organism can influence the directional movement of cells. This process is important in directing cell migration in the brain and is thought to play a role in the spread of brain cancer.
A recently published study by the INBT research lab of Peter Searson and the lab of Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa (Dr. Q) along with the lab of INBT's Jordan Green reveals that this process is regulated by how charged polymers called heparin sulfate are distributed on the cell surface.
The movie above shows how a neural progenitor cell is affected by the presence of an electrical field.
This study puts a major dent in understanding the mechanism of cell migration, according to the researchers. Their findings appeared in the August 2017 issue of the Journal of Cell Science. The cover image for this edition was provided by the Searson Lab.
Read the paper online in the Journal of Cell Science (subscription required)