Background: In the absence of stimuli, most motile eukaryotic cells move by spontaneously coordinating cell deformation with cell movement in the absence of stimuli. Yet little is known about how cells change their own shape and how cells coordinate the deformation and movement. Here, we investigated the mechanism of spontaneous cell migration by using computational analyses. Methodology: We observed spontaneously migrating Dictyostelium cells in both a vegetative state (round cell shape and slow motion) and starved one (elongated cell shape and fast motion). We then extracted regular patterns of morphological dynamics and the pattern-dependent systematic coordination with filamentous actin (F-actin) and cell movement by statistical dynamic analyses. Conclusions/Significance: We found that Dictyostelium cells in both vegetative and starved states commonly organize their own shape into three ordered patterns, elongation, rotation, and oscillation, in the absence of external stimuli. Further, cells inactivated for PI3-kinase (PI3K) and/or PTEN did not show ordered patterns due to the lack of spatial control in pseudopodial formation in both the vegetative and starved states. We also found that spontaneous polarization was achieved in starved cells by asymmetric localization of PTEN and F-actin. This breaking of the symmetry of protein localization maintained the leading edge and considerably enhanced the persistence of directed migration, and overall random exploration was ensured by switching among the different ordered patterns. Our findings suggest that Dictyostelium cells spontaneously create the ordered patterns of cell shape mediated by PI3K/PTEN/F-actin and control the direction of cell movement by coordination with these patterns even in the absence of external stimuli.
!!!All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes