Rudimentary form of cellular "vision"

Guenter Albrecht-Buehler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


BHK cells were inoculated sparsely on one face ("sparse- or s-face") of a thin glass film whose opposite face was covered with a 2- to 3-day-old confluent layer of BHK cells ("confluent- or c-face"). After 7 hr of attaching and spreading in the absence of visible light, most of the cells on the s-face traversed with their long axes the direction of the whorls of the confluent cells on the c-face directly opposed. The effect was inhibited by a thin metal coating of the glass films. The results suggest that the cells were able to detect the orientation of others by signals that penetrated glass but not thin metallic films and, therefore, appeared to be carried by electromagnetic radiation. In contrast, the effect was not influenced by a thin coat of silicone on the glass, suggesting that the wavelength of this radiation is likely to be in the red to infrared range. The ability of cells to detect the direction of others by electromagnetic signals points to a rudimentary form of cellular "vision.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8288-8292
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1992


  • BHK cells
  • Cell polarity
  • Cell-cell communication
  • Infrared light

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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