116 Scopus citations


A method for simulating the growth of branched actin networks against obstacles has been developed. The method is based on simple stochastic events, including addition or removal of monomers at filament ends, capping of filament ends, nucleation of branches from existing filaments, and detachment of branches; the network structure for several different models of the branching process has also been studied. The models differ with regard to their inclusion of effects such as preferred branch orientations, filament uncapping at the obstacle, and preferential branching at filament ends. The actin ultrastructure near the membrane in lamellipodia is reasonably well produced if preferential branching in the direction of the obstacle or barbed-end uncapping effects are included. Uncapping effects cause the structures to have a few very long filaments that are similar to those seen in pathogen-induced "actin tails." The dependence of the growth velocity, branch spacing, and network density on the rate parameters for the various processes is quite different among the branching models. An analytic theory of the growth velocity and branch spacing of the network is described. Experiments are suggested that could distinguish among some of the branching models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1907-1923
Number of pages17
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


Dive into the research topics of 'Growth of branched actin networks against obstacles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this