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Using a self-generated hypoxic assay, we show that the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum displays a remarkable collective aerotactic behavior. When a cell colony is covered, cells quickly consume the available oxygen (O2) and form a dense ring moving outwards at constant speed and density. To decipher this collective process, we combined two technological developments: porphyrin-based O2 -sensing films and microfluidic O2 gradient generators. We showed that Dictyostelium cells exhibit aerotactic and aerokinetic response in a low range of O2 concentration indicative of a very efficient detection mechanism. Cell behaviors under self-generated or imposed O2 gradients were modeled using an in silico cellular Potts model built on experimental observations. This computational model was complemented with a parsimonious 'Go or Grow' partial differential equation (PDE) model. In both models, we found that the collective migration of a dense ring can be explained by the interplay between cell division and the modulation of aerotaxis. © 2021, Cochet-Escartin et al.


Olivier Cochet-Escartin, Mete Demircigil, Satomi Hirose, Blandine Allais, Philippe Gonzalo, Ivan Mikaelian, Kenichi Funamoto, Christophe Anjard, Vincent Calvez, Jean-Paul Rieu. Hypoxia triggers collective aerotactic migration in Dictyostelium discoideum. eLife. 2021 Aug 20;10

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PMID: 34415238

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