Molecular basis of contact inhibition of locomotion

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2016 Mar;73(6):1119-30. doi: 10.1007/s00018-015-2090-0. Epub 2015 Nov 19.


Contact inhibition of locomotion (CIL) is a complex process, whereby cells undergoing a collision with another cell cease their migration towards the colliding cell. CIL has been identified in numerous cells during development including embryonic fibroblasts, neural crest cells and haemocytes and is the driving force behind a range of phenomenon including collective cell migration and dispersion. The loss of normal CIL behaviour towards healthy tissue has long been implicated in the invasion of cancer cells. CIL is a multi-step process that is driven by the tight coordination of molecular machinery. In this review, we shall breakdown CIL into distinct steps and highlight the key molecular mechanisms and components that are involved in driving each step of this process.

Keywords: Cadherin; Cell adhesion; Cell migration; Cell polarity; Rac; Rho.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cell Polarity
  • Contact Inhibition*
  • Humans
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Cadherins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins