Tight coupling between nucleus and cell migration through the perinuclear actin cap

Dong Hwee Kim, Sangkyun Cho, Denis Wirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Although eukaryotic cells are known to alternate between 'advancing' episodes of fast and persistent movement and 'hesitation' episodes of low speed and low persistence, the molecular mechanism that controls the dynamic changes in morphology, speed and persistence of eukaryotic migratory cells remains unclear. Here, we show that the movement of the interphase nucleus during random cell migration switches intermittently between two distinct modes-rotation and translocation-that follow with high fidelity the sequential rounded and elongated morphologies of the nucleus and cell body, respectively. Nuclear rotation and translocation mediate the stopand-go motion of the cell through the dynamic formation and dissolution, respectively, of the contractile perinuclear actin cap, which is dynamically coupled to the nuclear lamina and the nuclear envelope through LINC complexes. A persistent cell movement and nuclear translocation driven by the actin cap are halted following the disruption of the actin cap, which in turn allows the cell to repolarize for its next persistent move owing to nuclear rotation mediated by cytoplasmic dynein light intermediate chain 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2528-2541
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin cap
  • Cell migration
  • Nuclear migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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