Standard Article

Cell Locomotion

  1. Alexander D Bershadsky,
  2. Michael Elbaum

Published Online: 25 APR 2001

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001257



How to Cite

Bershadsky, A. D. and Elbaum, M. 2001. Cell Locomotion. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 APR 2001


The crawling locomotion of animal cells results from a coordinated cycle of protrusion, attachment and retraction. Protrusions in the direction of motion are normally generated by controlled assembly of actin networks, while adhesion and retraction rely as well on tension generated by actin–myosin interactions. Microtubules control the spatial distribution of these activities, creating a polarized shape in the cell that determines the direction of motion. All these processes are coordinated by small G proteins of the Rho family.


  • crawling;
  • protrusion;
  • attachment;
  • retraction;
  • actin;
  • myosin;
  • microtubules;
  • G proteins