Collective cell durotaxis emerges from long-range intercellular force transmission

Raimon Sunyer, Vito Conte, Jorge Escribano, Alberto Elosegui-Artola, Anna Labernadie, Léo Valon, Daniel Navajas, José Manuel García-Aznar, José J. Muñoz, Pere Roca-Cusachs, Xavier Trepat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

396 Citations (Scopus)


The ability of cells to follow gradients of extracellular matrix stiffness-durotaxis-has been implicated in development, fibrosis, and cancer. Here, we found multicellular clusters that exhibited durotaxis even if isolated constituent cells did not. This emergent mode of directed collective cell migration applied to a variety of epithelial cell types, required the action of myosin motors, and originated from supracellular transmission of contractile physical forces. To explain the observed phenomenology, we developed a generalized clutch model in which local stick-slip dynamics of cell-matrix adhesions was integrated to the tissue level through cell-cell junctions. Collective durotaxis is far more efficient than single-cell durotaxis; it thus emerges as a robust mechanism to direct cell migration during development, wound healing, and collective cancer cell invasion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1157-1161
Number of pages5
Issue number6304
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


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