We use a numerical simulation to model an actin comet tail as it grows from the surface of a small object (a bead) and disassembles by severing. We explore the dependence of macroscopic properties such as the local tail radius and tail length on several controllable properties, namely the bead diameter, the bead velocity, the severing rate per unit length, and the actin gel mesh size. The model predicts an F-actin density with an initial exponential decay followed by an abrupt decay at the edge of the tail, and predicts that the comet tail diameter is constant along the length of the tail. The simulation results are used to fit a formula relating the comet tail length to the control parameters, and it is proposed that this formula offers a means to extract quantitative information on the actin gel mesh size and severing kinetics from simple macroscopic measurements.
|State||Published - Aug 2011|