Nikon Instruments has been announced as the major sponsoring partner for the First World Cell Race.
Taking place with the agreement of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) committee, the cell race will identify the fastest cell to cover a distance of 100um and offers researchers an opportunity to compare and discuss their hypotheses of cell-migration mechanisms.
For decades, scientists all over the world have been investigating the mechanism of cell migration, working on the identification of genes, proteins and signalling networks involved.
Many of the mechanisms implicated in force production and cell shape deformation during migration have been elucidated.
However, cells in culture conditions do not behave as they do in living tissues.
Recent studies have shown that a good way to mimic cell migration in vivo is to plate cells on tracks coated with extra-cellular matrix.
Now, laboratories worldwide are being invited to participate in the First World Cell Race, by sending their chosen cell line to a selected 'Running Site' between 1 and 30 June 2011.
The cells will be cultured and plated onto microfabricated tracks designed and manufactured by Cytoo, and then filmed.
The videos will be recorded during July and August in participating Nikon imaging centres at: the Curie Institute, France; Heidelberg University, Germany; Kings College London, UK; Harvard Medical School, US; University of California San Francisco, US; and the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium.
Each centre is associated with an academic lab that is responsible for the cell culture.
Videos will be analysed and compared in September by the Institute Curie.
These will then be played and three prizes of a Nikon digital camera given during a special session of the annual meeting of the American Society of Cell Biology in December in Denver.
Any laboratory may participate; unusual cell types are welcomed and genetic modifications are allowed and even encouraged.
Each laboratory may enter only a single cell type.
The only exception to this rule is in case of a mutant cell line, for which both the mutant and the wild type cell line must be sent in.
For this first race, running tracks are provided in fibronectin; cells, therefore, should be adherent to fibronectin.
A maximum of 30 cell lines can be handled at each running site.
Selection will be handled on a first-come-first-serve basis.
However, sites will pay attention not to repeat measurements on HELA, NIH3T3 or other popular cell types.
Cells will be video recorded during a 24hr period using a Nikon Eclipse Ti-E with PFS and incubator.
Nine fields per well will be recorded using automated multi-position timelapse acquisition through a 10x objective.
Cell shape will be visualised using transmitted light in phase contrast.
Cell nuclei will also be stained by adding Hoechst 33342 in the medium.
Nuclei will be imaged by fluorescence imaging.
Cell movements will be monitored by taking one picture every 10min.
Cell motion and speed will be automatically quantified using automated detection and tracking of nucleus staining.
Movements of all cells in the nine fields will be monitored.
Cell nucleus (and not cell leading edge for example) will be considered as the reference point.
The final speed that will be registered will correspond to the most rapid cell in each well covering the official distance of 100um.