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Cell Migration

Cell migration is a highly integrated, multistep process that orchestrates embryonic morphogenesis, tissue repair and regeneration. It plays a pivotal role in the disease progression of cancer, mental retardation, atherosclerosis
and arthritis. The initial response of a cell to a migration-promoting agent is to polarize and extend protrusions in the direction of the attractant; these protrusions can consist of large, broad lamellipodia or spike-like filopodia.
In either case, these protrusions are driven by actin polymerization and can be stabilized by extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesion or cell-cell interactions (via transmembrane receptors). There are various types of cell migration including chemotaxis, haptotaxis and transmigration.
Cell invasion is related to, and encompasses, cell migration, except that cells do more than migrate. Invasive cells move through the extracellular matrix into neighboring tissues in a process that involves ECM degradation and proteolysis. Metastatic cells produce many proteolytic enzymes (e.g. lysosomal hydrolysates, collagenases, plasminogen activators) while the expression of certain cell surface protease receptors is also increased. The ability of malignant tumor cells to invade normal surrounding tissue contributes in large part to the significant morbidity and mortality of cancers.
Cell migration assays developed by Cell Biolabs are offered in two formats:
Boyden Chamber Assays and Gap Closure Assays
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Boyden Chamber Assays consist of a cylindrical cell culture insert nested in the well of a cell culture plate. The insert contains a polycarbonate membrane at the bottom with a defined pore size. Cells are seeded into the insert, and migratory cells move through the pores toward the chemoattractant below and can be stained or quantified in a plate reader. Invasive cells may be similarly measured by the placement of a coating of extracellular matrix proteins on top of the membrane.

Gap Closure Assays create a defined area across which migratory cells can move. Migration can be monitored in real-time by microscopy. These assays include the new Radius technology which uses a biocompatible hydrogel to create a circular area across which cells can migrate, and the Wound Healing Assay which is a more consistent alternative to the traditional scratch assay.
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Cell Invasion Assays


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