Marel, Anna-Kristina; Podewitz, Nils; Zorn, Matthias; Rädler, Joachim O.; Elgeti, Jens (2014): Alignment of cell division axes in directed epithelial cell migration. In: New Journal of Physics, Vol. 16, 115005




Cell division is an essential dynamic event in tissue remodeling during wound healing, cancer and embryogenesis. In collective migration, tensile stresses affect cell shape and polarity, hence, the orientation of the cell division axis is expected to depend on cellular flow patterns. Here, we study the degree of orientation of cell division axes in migrating and resting epithelial cell sheets. We use microstructured channels to create a defined scenario of directed cell invasion and compare this situation to resting but proliferating cell monolayers. In experiments, we find a strong alignment of the axis due to directed flow while resting sheets show very weak global order, but local flow gradients still correlate strongly with the cell division axis. We compare experimental results with a previously published mesoscopic particle based simulation model. Most of the observed effects are reproduced by the simulations.