Longhua Hu and Garegin A. Papoian
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, MD20742
Actin-based cell motility is essential to many biological processes. We built a simplified, three-dimensional computational model and subsequently performed stochastic simulations to study the growth dynamics of lamellipodia-like branched networks. We discuss detailed mechanisms by which capping and anti-capping proteins affect the protrusion speed of the actin network and the rate of nucleation of filaments. We computed a phase diagram showing the regimes of motility enhancement and inhibition by these proteins. Our work shows that the effects of capping and anti-capping proteins are mainly transmitted by modulation of the filamentous network density and local availability of monomeric actin. We discovered that the combination of the capping/anti-capping regulatory network with nucleation promoting proteins introduces robustness and redundancy in cell motility machinery, allowing the cell to easily achieve maximal protrusion speeds under a broader set of conditions. Finally, we discuss distributions of filament lengths under various conditions and speculate on their potential implication for the emergence of filopodia from the lamellipodial network.
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