Prof Robert Insall

University of Glasgow

Reverse chemotaxis - how can cells go backwards in a chemotactic gradient?

Reverse chemotaxis, in which cells move down gradients of repellent chemicals, is absolutely normal in bacteria, but hard to set up, hard to study and above all hard to explain in eukaryotes. We have established a system where Dictyostelium cells do reverse chemotaxis, and can explain the mechanism with mathematical models and experiments. The results are very counterintuitive, and quite surprising.