A new article on lymphocyte swimming in Biophysical Journal 

SIGNIFICANCE Leukocytes have a ubiquitous capacity to migrate on or in solid matrices and with or without adhesion, which is instrumental to fight infections. The precise mechanisms sustaining migration remain, however, arguable. It is for instance widely accepted that leukocytes cannot crawl on two-dimensional substrates without adhesion. In contrast, we showed that human lymphocytes swim on nonadherent two-dimensional substrates and in suspension. Furthermore, our experiments and modeling suggest that propulsion hardly rely on cell body deformations and predominantly on molecular paddling by transmembrane proteins protruding outside the cell. For physics, this study reveals a new type of microswimmer, and for biology, it suggests that leukocyte’s ubiquitous crawling may have evolved from an early machinery of swimming shared by various eukaryotic cells.

Biophysical Journal 119, 1157–1177, September 15, 2020 1157


This paper was commented on in Science (link), CellPress (link), Eurekalert (link) and Science&Vie (link) and CNRS (link).