Cell motility and its guidance through cell-cell contacts is instrumental in vasculogenesis and in other developmental or pathological processes as well. During vasculogenesis, multicellular sprouts invade rapidly into avascular areas, eventually creating a polygonal pattern. Sprout elongation, in turn, depends on a continuous supply of endothelial cells, streaming along the sprout toward its tip. As long-term videomicroscopy of in vitro cell cultures reveal, cell lines such as C6 gliomas or 3T3 fibroblasts form multicellular linear arrangements in vitro, similar to the multicellular vasculogenic sprouts. We show evidence that close contact with elongated cells enhances and guides cell motility. To model the patterning process we augmented the widely used cellular Potts model with an inherently nonequilibrium interaction whereby surfaces of elongated cells become more preferred adhesion substrates than surfaces of well-spread, isotropic cells.
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