Motility is a key property of a cell, required for several physiological processes, including embryonic development, axon guidance, tissue regeneration, gastrulation, immune response, and cancer metastasis. Therefore, the ability to examine cell motility, especially at a single cell level, is important for understanding various biological processes. Several different assays are currently available to examine cell motility. However, studying cell motility at a single cell level can be costly and/or challenging. Here, we describe a method of tracking random cell motility on different substrates such as glass, tissue-culture polystyrene, and type I collagen hydrogels, which can be modified to generate different collagen network microstructures. In this study we tracked MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells using The CytoSMARTTM
System (Lonza Group, Basel, Switzerland) for live cell imaging and assessed the average cell migration speed using ImageJ and wrMTrck plugin. Our cost-effective and easy-to-use method allows studying cell motility at a single cell level on different substrates with varying degrees of stiffness and varied compositions. This procedure can be successfully performed in a highly accessible manner with a simple setup.
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