A Worldwide Competition to Compare the Speed and Chemotactic Accuracy of Neutrophil-Like Cells


Skoge M., Wong E., Hamza B., Bae A., Martel J., Kataria R., ...More

PLOS ONE, vol.11, no.6, 2016 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154491
  • Journal Name: PLOS ONE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus

Abstract

Chemotaxis is the ability to migrate towards the source of chemical gradients. It underlies the ability of neutrophils and other immune cells to hone in on their targets and defend against invading pathogens. Given the importance of neutrophil migration to health and disease, it is crucial to understand the basic mechanisms controlling chemotaxis so that strategies can be developed to modulate cell migration in clinical settings. Because of the complexity of human genetics, Dictyostelium and HL60 cells have long served as models system for studying chemotaxis. Since many of our current insights into chemotaxis have been gained from these two model systems, we decided to compare them side by side in a set of winner-take-all races, the Dicty World Races. These worldwide competitions challenge researchers to genetically engineer and pharmacologically enhance the model systems to compete in microfluidic racecourses. These races bring together technological innovations in genetic engineering and precision measurement of cell motility. Fourteen teams participated in the inaugural Dicty World Race 2014 and contributed cell lines, which they tuned for enhanced speed and chemotactic accuracy. The race enabled large-scale analyses of chemotaxis in complex environments and revealed an intriguing balance of speed and accuracy of the model cell lines. The successes of the first race validated the concept of using fun-spirited competition to gain insights into the complex mechanisms controlling chemotaxis, while the challenges of the first race will guide further technological development and planning of future events.