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The role of actin protrusion dynamics in cell migration through a degradable viscoelastic extracellular matrix: Insights from a computational model

Fig 1

Cell migration model overview.

(A) Overview of the model of cell migration through a degradable viscoelastic matrix. The cell forms protrusions at the cell front that degrade the ECM particles and adhere to the ECM. The cell polarization direction rotates towards existing adhesion directions and defines the cell front (light blue particles) and rear (dark blue particles). Viscoelastic ECM particles (white) are degraded gradually by fluidization from partially degraded particles (gray) to fully degraded ECM particles (black). The ECM is modeled as a continuous material by using a smoothing kernel. (B) Schematic overview of the mechanical representation of the actin cortex. The following forces are indicated: cortex elastic force Fs, cortex viscous force Fη, cortex bending force Fbend, area conservation force FA, cortex-ECM elastic contact force Fσ, protrusion force Fprot, adhesion force Fadh, actomyosin contractile force Fam and maturation force Fmat (see also Eq 1).

Fig 1

doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007250.g001