Lateral Membrane Waves Constitute a Universal Dynamic Pattern of Motile Cells


We have monitored active movements of the cell circumference on specifically coated substrates for a variety of cells including mouse embryonic fibroblasts and T-cells, as well as wing disk cells from fruit flies. Despite having different functions and being from multiple phyla, these cell types share a common spatiotemporal pattern in their normal membrane velocity; we show that protrusion and retraction events are organized in lateral waves along the cell membrane. These wave patterns indicate both spatial and temporal long-range periodic correlations of the actomyosin gel.