Volume 12 (2015) Pages 21-29
Cell-crawling migration plays an essential role in complex biological phenomena. It is now generally believed that many processes essential to such migration are regulated by microtubules in many cells, including fibroblasts and neurons. However, keratocytes treated with nocodazole, which is an inhibitor of microtubule polymerization – and even keratocyte fragments that contain no microtubules – migrate at the same velocity and with the same directionality as normal keratocytes. In this study, we discovered that not only these migration properties, but also the molecular dynamics that regulate such properties, such as the retrograde flow rate of actin filaments, distributions of vinculin and myosin II, and traction forces, are also the same in nocodazole-treated keratocytes as those in untreated keratocytes. These results suggest that microtubules are not in fact required for crawling migration of keratocytes, either in terms of migrating properties or of intracellular molecular dynamics.