Amoeboid Cells Use Protrusions for Walking, Gliding and Swimming
Peter J. M. Van Haastert*
Department of Cell Biochemistry, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
Amoeboid cells crawl using pseudopods, which are convex extensions of the cell surface. In many laboratory experiments, cells move on a smooth substrate, but in the wild cells may experience obstacles of other cells or dead material, or may even move in liquid. To understand how cells cope with heterogeneous environments we have investigated the pseudopod life cycle of wild type and mutant cells moving on a substrate and when suspended in liquid. We show that the same pseudopod cycle can provide three types of movement that we address as walking, gliding and swimming. In walking, the extending pseudopod will adhere firmly to the substrate, which allows cells to generate forces to bypass obstacles. Mutant cells with compromised adhesion can move much faster than wild type cells on a smooth substrate (gliding), but cannot move effectively against obstacles that provide resistance. In a liquid, when swimming, the extending pseudopods convert to side-bumps that move rapidly to the rear of the cells. Calculations suggest that these bumps provide sufficient drag force to mediate the observed forward swimming of the cell.
Citation: Van Haastert PJM (2011) Amoeboid Cells Use Protrusions for Walking, Gliding and Swimming. PLoS ONE 6(11): e27532. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027532
Editor: Neil A. Hotchin, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Received: May 20, 2011; Accepted: October 19, 2011; Published: November 9, 2011
Copyright: © 2011 Peter J. M. Van Haastert. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: The author has no support or funding to report.
Competing interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist.
* E-mail: P.J.M.firstname.lastname@example.org