Mechanical modes of 'amoeboid' cell migration

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2009 Oct;21(5):636-44. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Jun 11.


The morphological term 'amoeboid' migration subsumes a number of rather distinct biophysical modes of cellular locomotion that range from blebbing motility to entirely actin-polymerization-based gliding. Here, we discuss the diverse principles of force generation and force transduction that lead to the distinct amoeboid phenotypes. We argue that shifting the balance between actin protrusion, actomyosin contraction, and adhesion to the extracellular substrate can explain the different modes of amoeboid movement and that blebbing and gliding are barely extreme variants of one common migration strategy. Depending on the cell type, physiological conditions or experimental manipulation, amoeboid cells can adopt the distinct mechanical modes of amoeboid migration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement
  • Eukaryota / cytology*
  • Eukaryota / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Swimming