A computational model of chemotaxis-based cell aggregation

Biosystems. 2008 Sep;93(3):226-39. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2008.05.005. Epub 2008 May 28.

Abstract

We present a computational model that successfully captures the cell behaviors that play important roles in 2-D cell aggregation. A virtual cell in our model is designed as an independent, discrete unit with a set of parameters and actions. Each cell is defined by its location, size, rates of chemoattractant emission and response, age, life cycle stage, proliferation rate and number of attached cells. All cells are capable of emitting and sensing a chemoattractant chemical, moving, attaching to other cells, dividing, aging and dying. We validated and fine-tuned our in silico model by comparing simulated 24-h aggregation experiments with data derived from in vitro experiments using PC12 pheochromocytoma cells. Quantitative comparisons of the aggregate size distributions from the two experiments are produced using the Earth Mover's Distance (EMD) metric. We compared the two size distributions produced after 24 h of in vitro cell aggregation and the corresponding computer simulated process. Iteratively modifying the model's parameter values and measuring the difference between the in silico and in vitro results allow us to determine the optimal values that produce simulated aggregation outcomes closely matched to the PC12 experiments. Simulation results demonstrate the ability of the model to recreate large-scale aggregation behaviors seen in live cell experiments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Aggregation
  • Chemotaxis*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Models, Biological*
  • PC12 Cells
  • Rats