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Directed cell migration mediates physiological and pathological processes. In particular, immune cell trafficking in tissues is crucial for inducing immune responses and is coordinated by multiple environmental cues such as chemoattractant gradients. Although the chemotaxis mechanism has been extensively studied, how cells integrate multiple chemotactic signals for effective trafficking and positioning in tissues is not clearly defined. Results from previous neutrophil chemotaxis experiments and modeling studies suggested that ligand-induced homologous receptor desensitization may provide an important mechanism for cell migration in competing chemoattractant gradients. However, the previous mathematical model is oversimplified to cell gradient sensing in one-dimensional 1-D environment. To better understand the receptor desensitization mechanism for chemotactic navigation, we further developed the model to test the role of homologous receptor desensitization in regulating both cell gradient sensing and migration in different configurations of chemoattractant fields in two-dimension 2-D. Our results show that cells expressing normal desensitizable receptors preferentially orient and migrate toward the distant gradient in the presence of a second local competing gradient, which are consistent with the experimentally observed preferential migration of cells toward the distant attractant source and confirm the requirement of receptor desensitization for such migratory behaviors. Furthermore, our results are in qualitative agreement with the experimentally observed cell migration patterns in different configurations of competing chemoattractant fields.

Autor: Dan Wu, Francis Lin



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