Actomyosin pulls to advance the nucleus in a migrating tissue cell. Academic Article uri icon


  • The cytoskeletal forces involved in translocating the nucleus in a migrating tissue cell remain unresolved. Previous studies have variously implicated actomyosin-generated pushing or pulling forces on the nucleus, as well as pulling by nucleus-bound microtubule motors. We found that the nucleus in an isolated migrating cell can move forward without any trailing-edge detachment. When a new lamellipodium was triggered with photoactivation of Rac1, the nucleus moved toward the new lamellipodium. This forward motion required both nuclear-cytoskeletal linkages and myosin activity. Apical or basal actomyosin bundles were found not to translate with the nucleus. Although microtubules dampen fluctuations in nuclear position, they are not required for forward translocation of the nucleus during cell migration. Trailing-edge detachment and pulling with a microneedle produced motion and deformation of the nucleus suggestive of a mechanical coupling between the nucleus and the trailing edge. Significantly, decoupling the nucleus from the cytoskeleton with KASH overexpression greatly decreased the frequency of trailing-edge detachment. Collectively, these results explain how the nucleus is moved in a crawling fibroblast and raise the possibility that forces could be transmitted from the front to the back of the cell through the nucleus.

published proceedings

  • Biophys J

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, J., Kent, I. A., Shekhar, N., Chancellor, T. J., Mendonca, A., Dickinson, R. B., & Lele, T. P.

citation count

  • 65

complete list of authors

  • Wu, Jun||Kent, Ian A||Shekhar, Nandini||Chancellor, TJ||Mendonca, Agnes||Dickinson, Richard B||Lele, Tanmay P

publication date

  • January 2014