Cells can communicate with each other by emitting diffusible signaling molecules into the surrounding environment. However, simple diffusion is slow. Even small molecules take hours to diffuse millimeters away from their source, making it difficult for thousands of cells to coordinate their activity over millimeters, as happens routinely during development and immune response. Moreover, simple diffusion creates shallow, Gaussian-tailed concentration profiles. Attempting to move up or down such shallow gradients - to chemotax - is a difficult task for cells, as they see only small spatial and temporal concentration changes. Here, we demonstrate that cells utilizing diffusive relays, in which the presence of one type of diffusible signaling molecule triggers participation in the emission of the same type of molecule, can propagate fast-traveling diffusive waves that give rise to steep chemical gradients. Our methods are general and capture the effects of dimensionality, cell density, signaling molecule degradation, pulsed emission, and cellular chemotaxis on the diffusive wave dynamics. We show that system dimensionality - the size and shape of the extracellular medium and the distribution of the cells within it - can have a particularly dramatic effect on wave initiation and asymptotic propagation, and that these dynamics are insensitive to the details of cellular activation. As an example, we show that neutrophil swarming experiments exhibit dynamical signatures consistent with the proposed signaling motif. Interpreted in the context of these experiments, our results provide insight into the utility of signaling relays in immune response.
- Downloaded 347 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 46,703 out of 89,211
- In biophysics: 1,906 out of 3,885
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 11,232 out of 89,211
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 24,342 out of 89,211
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!