Mathematics of experimentally generated chemoattractant gradients.

Marten Postma*, Peter J.M. van Haastert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Many eukaryotic cells move in the direction of a chemical gradient. Several assays have been developed to measure this chemotactic response, but no complete mathematical models of the spatial and temporal gradients are available to describe the fundamental principles of chemotaxis. Here we provide analytical solutions for the gradients formed by release of chemoattractant from a point source by passive diffusion or forced flow (micropipettes) and gradients formed by laminar diffusion in a Zigmond chamber. The results show that gradients delivered with a micropipette are formed nearly instantaneous, are very steep close to the pipette, and have a steepness that is strongly dependent on the distance from the pipette. In contrast, gradients in a Zigmond chamber are formed more slowly, are nearly independent of the distance from the source, and resemble the temporal and spatial properties of the natural cAMP wave that Dictyostelium cells experience during cell aggregation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-488
Number of pages16
JournalMethods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
Volume571
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

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