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Issue 35, 2018
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Non-Gaussianity, population heterogeneity, and transient superdiffusion in the spreading dynamics of amoeboid cells

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Abstract

What is the underlying diffusion process governing the spreading dynamics and search strategies employed by amoeboid cells? Based on the statistical analysis of experimental single-cell tracking data of the two-dimensional motion of the Dictyostelium discoideum amoeboid cells, we quantify their diffusive behaviour based on a number of standard and complementary statistical indicators. We compute the ensemble- and time-averaged mean-squared displacements (MSDs) of the diffusing amoebae cells and observe a pronounced spread of short-time diffusion coefficients and anomalous MSD-scaling exponents for individual cells. The distribution functions of the cell displacements, the long-tailed distribution of instantaneous speeds, and the velocity autocorrelations are also computed. In particular, we observe a systematic superdiffusive short-time behaviour for the ensemble- and time-averaged MSDs of the amoeboid cells. Also, a clear anti-correlation of scaling exponents and generalised diffusivity values for different cells is detected. Most significantly, we demonstrate that the distribution function of the cell displacements has a strongly non-Gaussian shape and—using a rescaled spatio-temporal variable—the cell-displacement data collapse onto a universal master curve. The current analysis of single-cell motions can be implemented for quantifying diffusive behaviours in other living-matter systems, in particular, when effects of active transport, non-Gaussian displacements, and heterogeneity of the population are involved in the dynamics.

Graphical abstract: Non-Gaussianity, population heterogeneity, and transient superdiffusion in the spreading dynamics of amoeboid cells

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
05 Jul 2018
Accepted
08 Aug 2018
First published
08 Aug 2018

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018,20, 23034-23054
Article type
Paper

Non-Gaussianity, population heterogeneity, and transient superdiffusion in the spreading dynamics of amoeboid cells

A. G. Cherstvy, O. Nagel, C. Beta and R. Metzler, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, 20, 23034
DOI: 10.1039/C8CP04254C

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