Biomathematics Seminar: Modelling the dynamics of cytoskeletal actin networks
11 November 2008 14:15 in The Kingsley Barrett Lecture Theatre (CLC407)
Actin fibers form highly branched and dynamics structures which make up the cytoskeleton of eukaryotic cells. The growth of these polymer networks is usually associated with cell motility, and several in vitro experiments have shown that in a minimal motility buffer branched actin networks can push around polystyrene beads as well.
First, I will present 3-dimensional dynamic Monte-Carlo simulations of the propulsion of a colloidal obstacle via the polymerisation of an actin comet in vitro (see e.g. the movies of the above mentioned bead experiments in http://www.lebs.cnrs-gif.fr/carlier/movies.html). I will then discuss some results obtained by applying analytical and numerical techniques to study the growth of an actin fiber or network close to a membrane and the formation of fingerlike protrusions, known as filopodia, in a cell in vivo.