Modeling cell shape and dynamics on micropatterns
Authors: Albert PJ, Schwarz US
CellNetworks People: Schwarz Ulrich
Journal: Cell Adh Migr. 2016 Feb 2:1-13

Adhesive micropatterns have become a standard tool to study cells under defined conditions. Applications range from controlling the differentiation and fate of single cells to guiding the collective migration of cell sheets. In long-term experiments, single cell normalization is challenged by cell division. For all of these setups, mathematical models predicting cell shape and dynamics can guide pattern design. Here we review recent advances in predicting and explaining cell shape, traction forces and dynamics on micropatterns. Starting with contour models as the simplest approach to explain concave cell shapes, we move on to network and continuum descriptions as examples for static models. To describe dynamic processes, cellular Potts, vertex and phase field models can be used. Different types of model are appropriate to address different biological questions and together, they provide a versatile tool box to predict cell behavior on micropatterns.