Hemocytes in Drosophila melanogaster embryos move via heterogeneous anomalous diffusion

Mykola Korabel, Giuliana D. Clemente, Daniel Han, Felix Feldman, Thomas Millard, Thomas Andrew Waigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drosophila melanogaster hemocytes are highly motile cells that are crucial for successful embryogenesis and have important roles in the organism’s immunological response. Here we measure the motion of hemocytes using selective plane illumination microscopy. Every hemocyte cell in one half of an embryo is tracked during embryogenesis and analysed using a deep learning neural network. We show that the anomalous transport of the cells is well described by fractional Brownian motion that is heterogeneous in both time and space. LanB1 and SCAR mutants disrupt the collective cellular motion and reduce its persistence due to the modification of laminin and actin-based motility respectively. The anomalous motility of the hemocytes oscillated in time with alternating periods of varying persistent motion. Touching hemocytes appear to experience synchronised contact inhibition of locomotion. A quantitative statistical framework is presented for hemocyte motility which provides biological insights.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunications physics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Oct 2022


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