Cell motion predicts human epidermal stemness
Image-based identification of cultured stem cells and noninvasive evaluation of their proliferative capacity advance cell therapy and stem cell research. Here we demonstrate that human keratinocyte stem cells can be identified in situ by analyzing cell motion during their cultivation. Modeling experiments suggested that the clonal type of cultured human clonogenic keratinocytes can be efficiently determined by analysis of early cell movement. Image analysis experiments demonstrated that keratinocyte stem cells indeed display a unique rotational movement that can be identified as early as the two-cell stage colony. We also demonstrate that alpha 6 integrin is required for both rotational and collective cell motion. Our experiments provide, for the first time, strong evidence that cell motion and epidermal stemness are linked. We conclude that early identification of human keratinocyte stem cells by image analysis of cell movement is a valid parameter for quality control of cultured keratinocytes for transplantation.