AdhesionFlex Plugin

AdhesionFlex offers a very flexible way to define adhesion between cells. It allows setting individual adhesivity properties for each cell. Users can use either CC3DML syntax or Python scripting to initialize adhesion molecule density for each cell. In addition, Medium can also carry its own adhesion molecules. We use the following formula to calculate adhesion energy in AdhesionFlex plugin:

\begin{eqnarray} E_{adhesion} = \sum_{i,j,neighbors} \left ( - \sum_{m,n}k_{mn}F\left ( N_{m}\left (i \right ), N_{n} \left( i \right ) \right ) \right )\left ( 1-\delta_{\sigma(i), \sigma(j)} \right ) \end{eqnarray}

where indexes i, j label pixels, \(- \sum_{m,n}k_{mn}F\left ( N_{m}\left (i \right ), N_{n} \left( i \right ) \right )\) denotes contact energy between cell types \(\sigma(i)\) and \(\sigma(j)\) and indexes m , n label adhesion molecules in cells composed of pixels i and j respectively. F denotes user-defined function of \(N_m\) and \(N_n\). Although this may look a bit complex, the basic idea is simple: each cell has certain number of adhesion molecules on its surface. When cells touch each other the resultant energy is simply a “product of interactions” of adhesion molecules from one cell with adhesion molecules from another cell. The CC3DML syntax for this plugin is given below:

<Plugin Name="AdhesionFlex">
    <AdhesionMolecule Molecule="NCad"/>
    <AdhesionMolecule Molecule="NCam"/>
    <AdhesionMolecule Molecule="Int"/>
    <AdhesionMoleculeDensity CellType="Cell1" Molecule="NCad" Density="6.1"/>
    <AdhesionMoleculeDensity CellType="Cell1" Molecule="NCam" Density="4.1"/>
    <AdhesionMoleculeDensity CellType="Cell1" Molecule="Int" Density="8.1"/>
    <AdhesionMoleculeDensity CellType="Medium" Molecule="Int" Density="3.1"/>
    <AdhesionMoleculeDensity CellType="Cell2" Molecule="NCad" Density="2.1"/>
    <AdhesionMoleculeDensity CellType="Cell2" Molecule="NCam" Density="3.1"/>

    <BindingFormula Name="Binary">
        <Formula> min(Molecule1,Molecule2)</Formula>
             <BindingParameter Molecule1="NCad" Molecule2="NCad">-1.0</BindingParameter>
             <BindingParameter Molecule1="NCam" Molecule2="NCam">2.0</BindingParameter>
             <BindingParameter Molecule1="NCad" Molecule2="NCam">-10.0</BindingParameter>
             <BindingParameter Molecule1="Int" Molecule2="Int">-10.0</BindingParameter>


k:sub:`mn` matrix is specified within the AdhesionInteractionMatrix tag – the elements are listed using BindingParameter tags. The AdhesionMoleculeDensity tag specifies initial concentration of adhesion molecules. Even if you are going to modify those from Python you are still required to specify the names of adhesion molecules and associate them with appropriate cell types. Failure to do so may result in simulation crash or undefined behaviors. The user-defined function *F* is specified using Formula tag where the arguments of the function are called Molecule1 and Molecule2 . The syntax has to follow syntax of the muParser - .

CompuCell3D example – Demos/AdhesionFlex - demonstrates how to manipulate concentration of adhesion molecules. For example:


allows to access adhesion molecule concentration using its name (as given in the CC3DML above using AdhesionMoleculeDensity tag).


allows to access adhesion molecule concentration using its index in the adhesion molecule density vector. The order of the adhesion molecule densities in the vector is the same as the order in which they were declared in the CC3DML above - AdhesionMoleculeDensity tags.


allows access to entire adhesion molecule density vector. Each of these functions has its corresponding function which operates on Medium . In this case we do not give cell as first argument:


self.adhesionFlexPlugin.getMediumAdhesionMoleculeDensityByIndex (0)


To change the value of the adhesion molecule density we use set functions:

Notice that in this last function we passed entire Python list as the argument. CC3D will check if the number of entries in this vector is the same as the number of entries in the currently used vector. If so the values from the passed vector will be copied, otherwise they will be ignored.


During mitosis we create new cell (childCell) and the adhesion molecule vector of this cell will have no components. However in order for simulation to continue we have to initialize this vector with number of adhesion molecules appropriate to childCell type. We know that setAdhesionMoleculeDensityVector is not appropriate for this task so we have to use:


which will ensure that the content of passed vector is copied entirely into cell’s vector (making size adjustments as necessary).


You have to make sure that the number of newly assigned adhesion molecules is exactly the same as the number of adhesion molecules declared for the cell of this particular type.

All of the get functions has corresponding set function which operates on Medium: