Cell Motility


Movement is a major characteristic of living organisms, and can take the form either of movements of cells or of movements within cells themselves.

Keywords: cytoskeleton; microtubule; actin filament; motor protein

Figure 1.

Diagram of a transverse section of a cilium or a flagellum. The major elements of the internal axoneme are nine peripheral microtubule doublets surrounding a central pair of single microtubules. Pairs of dynein arms attached to one doublet interact with the adjacent doublet to produce relative sliding. This is then converted into ciliary or flagellar bending by other structures including nexin links and radial spokes.

Figure 2.

Diagram of a vertebrate nerve cell showing the extended axon and a number of short dendrites. The polarity of the axonal microtubules is shown, and the bidirectional anterograde (outward) and retrograde (backward) transport along the axon is indicated.

Figure 3.

Diagram showing the shape of a migrating fibroblast (a) from above and (b) in profile. The leading edge of the cell is thought to extend as a result of the formation of actin filaments in the broad flattened lamellipodium and numerous fine filopodia.



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Further Reading

Baggiolini M (1998) Chemokines and leukocyte traffic. Nature 392: 565–568.

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Hynes RO (1992) Integrins: versatility, modulation and signalling in cell adhesion. Cell 69: 11–25.

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Keely P, Parise L and Juliano R (1998) Integrins and GTPases in turnover and cell growth. Trends in Cell Biology 8: 101–106.

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Langford GM (1995) Actin‐ and microtubule‐dependent organelle motors: interrelationships between the two motility systems. Current Opinion in Cell Biology 7: 82–88.

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Pelham RJ and Chang F (2002) Actin dynamics in the contractile ring during cytokinesis in fission yeast. Nature 419: 82–86.

Sanchez‐Madrid F and del Pozo MA (1999) Leukocyte polarization in cell migration and the immune response. EMBO Journal 18: 501–511.

Stossel TP (1993) On the crawling of animal cells. Science 260: 1086–1094.

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How to Cite close
Stebbings, Howard(Sep 2005) Cell Motility. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003967]