Amoeboid motion in confined geometry

Hao Wu, M. Thiébaud, W. F. Hu, A. Farutin, S. Rafaï, Ming-Chih Lai, P. Peyla, C. Misbah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Many eukaryotic cells undergo frequent shape changes (described as amoeboid motion) that enable them to move forward. We investigate the effect of confinement on a minimal model of amoeboid swimmer. A complex picture emerges: (i) The swimmer's nature (i.e., either pusher or puller) can be modified by confinement, thus suggesting that this is not an intrinsic property of the swimmer. This swimming nature transition stems from intricate internal degrees of freedom of membrane deformation. (ii) The swimming speed might increase with increasing confinement before decreasing again for stronger confinements. (iii) A straight amoeoboid swimmer's trajectory in the channel can become unstable, and ample lateral excursions of the swimmer prevail. This happens for both pusher- and puller-type swimmers. For weak confinement, these excursions are symmetric, while they become asymmetric at stronger confinement, whereby the swimmer is located closer to one of the two walls. In this study, we combine numerical and theoretical analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number050701
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 4 Nov 2015


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