Effects of molecular-scale processes on observable growth properties of actin networks

J. Zhu, A. E. Carlsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The properties of actin network growth against a flat obstacle are studied using several different sets of molecular-level assumptions regarding filament growth and nucleation. These assumptions are incorporated into a multifilament methodology which treats both the distribution of filament orientations and bending of filaments. Three single-filament force-generation mechanisms in the literature are compared within this framework. Each mechanism is treated using two different filament nucleation modes, namely, spontaneous nucleation and branching off pre-existing filaments. We find that the shape of the force-velocity relation depends mainly on the ratio of the thermodynamic and mechanical stall forces of the filaments. If the thermodynamic stall force greatly exceeds the mechanical stall force, the velocity drops abruptly to zero when the mechanical stall force is reached; otherwise, it goes more gradually to zero. In addition, branching nucleation gives a steeper increase in the filament number with opposing force than spontaneous nucleation does. Finally, the zero-force velocity of the obstacle as a function of the detachment and capping rates differs significantly between the different single-filament growth mechanisms. Experiments are proposed to use these differences to discriminate between the network growth models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031914
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 22 2010


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