Whether one considers swarming insects, flocking birds, or bacterial colonies, collective motion arises from the coordination of individuals and entails the adjustment of their respective velocities. In particular, in close confinements, such as those encountered by dense cell populations during development or regeneration, collective migration can only arise coordinately. Yet, how individuals unify their velocities is often not understood. Focusing on a finite number of cells in circular confinements, we identify waves of polymerizing actin that function as a pacemaker governing the speed of individual cells. We show that the onset of collective motion coincides with the synchronization of the wave nucleation frequencies across the population. Employing a simpler and more readily accessible mechanical model system of active spheres, we identify the synchronization of the individuals’ internal oscillators as one of the essential requirements to reach the corresponding collective state. The mechanical ‘toy’ experiment illustrates that the global synchronous state is achieved by nearest neighbor coupling. We suggest by analogy that local coupling and the synchronization of actin waves are essential for the emergent, self-organized motion of cell collectives.
We thank K. O’Keeffe, E. Hannezo, P. Devreotes, C. Dessalles, and E. Martens for discussion and/or critical reading of the manuscript; the Bioimaging Facility of ISTA for excellent support, as well as the Life Science Facility and the Miba Machine Shop of ISTA. This work was supported by the European Research Council (ERC StG 281556 and CoG 724373) to M.S.
Riedl M, Mayer ID, Merrin J, Sixt MK, Hof B. Synchronization in collectively moving inanimate and living active matter. Nature Communications. 2023;14. doi:10.1038/s41467-023-41432-1
Riedl, M., Mayer, I. D., Merrin, J., Sixt, M. K., & Hof, B. (2023). Synchronization in collectively moving inanimate and living active matter. Nature Communications. Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-41432-1
Riedl, Michael, Isabelle D Mayer, Jack Merrin, Michael K Sixt, and Björn Hof. “Synchronization in Collectively Moving Inanimate and Living Active Matter.” Nature Communications. Springer Nature, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-41432-1.
M. Riedl, I. D. Mayer, J. Merrin, M. K. Sixt, and B. Hof, “Synchronization in collectively moving inanimate and living active matter,” Nature Communications, vol. 14. Springer Nature, 2023.
Riedl M, Mayer ID, Merrin J, Sixt MK, Hof B. 2023. Synchronization in collectively moving inanimate and living active matter. Nature Communications. 14, 5633.
Riedl, Michael, et al. “Synchronization in Collectively Moving Inanimate and Living Active Matter.” Nature Communications, vol. 14, 5633, Springer Nature, 2023, doi:10.1038/s41467-023-41432-1.
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