Motility is the ability to move spontaneously from one location to another by consuming energy. In biology, the term usually refers to single-celled and simple multicellular organisms, and encompasses swimming, crawling, gliding and swarming motion.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Research Highlights |

    This study reports that surfing motility is a conserved yet diverse form of motility in bacteria.

    • Ashley York
  • News and Views |

    Many microorganisms use light-sensitive receptors to migrate. A case in point is the microalga Euglena gracilis, which avoids light intensity increases by swimming in polygonal trajectories — providing an elegant solution to navigational challenges.

    • Nicolas Waisbord
    •  & Jeffrey S. Guasto
    Nature Physics 14, 1161-1162
  • News and Views |

    Cells in embryonic tissues generate coordinated forces to close small wounds rapidly without scarring. New research shows that large cell-to-cell variations in these forces are a key system feature that surprisingly speeds up wound healing.

    • M. Shane Hutson
    Nature Physics 14, 639-641
  • News and Views |

    Streams of motile cells appear in both healthy development and the evolution of tumours. A study of cells under lateral confinement now suggests their activity plays a key role in triggering these flows.

    • Francesc Sagués
    Nature Physics 14, 638-639
  • News and Views |

    Cytoplasmic dyneins transport cellular components from the periphery toward the center of the cell. By moving cargoes along microtubules, dyneins ensure proper cell division, regulate exchange of materials between organelles, and contribute to the internal organization of eukaryotic cells. Two recent studies show that, upon dimerization, cytoplasmic dyneins intrinsically adopt an autoinhibited configuration that can be relieved by other factors to precisely control motor activity and regulate dynein-based transport.

    • Gaia Pigino
    •  & Stephen M King