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Neutrophil Chemotaxis in Multiple Chemoattractant Gradients

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Title: Neutrophil Chemotaxis in Multiple Chemoattractant Gradients
Author(s): Kimura, Yuki
Advisor(s): Rao, Christopher V.; Olson, Luke N.
Department / Program: Chemical & Biomolecular Engr
Discipline: Chemical Engineering
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): neutrophil chemotaxis chemoattractant biased correlated random walk formyl methionyl leucyl phenylalanine (fMLP) interleukin 8 (IL-8) leukotriene B4 (LTB4)
Abstract: Chemotaxis, the phenomenon in which cells move in response to extracellular chemical gradients, plays a prominent role in the mammalian immune response. During this process, a number of chemical signals, called chemoattractants, are produced at or proximal to sites of infection and diffuse into the surrounding tissue. Immune cells sense these chemoattractants and move in the direction where their concentration is greatest, thereby locating the source of attractants and their associated targets. Leading the assault against new infections is a specialized class of leukocytes (white blood cells) known as neutrophils, which normally circulate in the bloodstream. Upon activation, these cells emigrate out of the vasculature and navigate through interstitial tissues toward target sites. There they phagocytose bacteria and release a number of proteases and reactive oxygen intermediates with antimicrobial activity. Neutrophils recruited by infected tissue in vivo are likely confronted by complex chemical environments consisting of a number of different chemoattractant species. These signals may include end target chemicals produced in the vicinity of the infectious agents, and endogenous chemicals released by local host tissues during the inflammatory response. To successfully locate their pathogenic targets within these chemically diverse and heterogeneous settings, activated neutrophils must be capable of distinguishing between the different signals and employing some sort of logic to prioritize among them. This ability to simultaneously process and interpret mulitple signals is thought to be essential for efficient navigation of the cells to target areas. In particular, aberrant cell signaling and defects in this functionality are known to contribute to medical conditions such as chronic inflammation, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. To elucidate the biomolecular mechanisms underlying the neutrophil response to different chemoattractants, a number of efforts have been made toward understanding how cells respond to different combinations of chemicals. Most notably, recent investigations have shown that in the presence of both end target and endogenous chemoattractant variants, the cells migrate preferentially toward the former type, even in very low relative concentrations of the latter. Interestingly, however, when the cells are exposed to two different endogenous chemical species, they exhibit a combinatorial response in which distant sources are favored over proximal sources. Some additional results also suggest that cells located between two endogenous chemoattractant sources will respond to the vectorial sum of the combined gradients. In the long run, this peculiar behavior could result in oscillatory cell trajectories between the two sources. To further explore the significance of these and other observations, particularly in the context of physiological conditions, we introduce in this work a simplified phenomenological model of neutrophil chemotaxis. In particular, this model incorporates a trait commonly known as directional persistence - the tendency for migrating neutrophils to continue moving in the same direction (much like momentum) - while also accounting for the dose-response characteristics of cells to different chemical species. Simulations based on this model suggest that the efficiency of cell migration in complex chemical environments depends significantly on the degree of directional persistence. In particular, with appropriate values for this parameter, cells can improve their odds of locating end targets by drifting through a network of attractant sources in a loosely-guided fashion. This corroborates the prediction that neutrophils randomly migrate from one chemoattractant source to the next while searching for their end targets. These cells may thus use persistence as a general mechanism to avoid being trapped near sources of endogenous chemoattractants - the mathematical analogue of local maxima in a global optimization problem. Moreover, this general foraging strategy may apply to other biological processes involving multiple signals and long-range navigation.
Issue Date: 2011-01-21
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/18520
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Yuki Kimura
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-01-21
2013-01-22
Date Deposited: 2010-12
 

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