BGU Physics Department

Colloquium, Dec. 15th, 2011

The interplay between actin dynamics and membrane tension determines the shape of moving cells

Kinneret Keren,  The Technion
A central challenge in cell motility research is to quantitatively understand how numerous molecular building blocks self-organize to achieve coherent shape and movement on cellular scales. We focus on one of the classic examples of such self-organization, namely lamellipodial motility, in which forward translocation is driven by an actin network which assembles at the front and disassembles towards the rear. We combine detailed measurements of lamellipodial morphology, spatio-temporal actin dynamics and membrane tension, with mathematical modelling to explain how global shape and speed of the lamellipodium emerge from the underlying assembly and disassembly dynamics of the actin network within an inextensible membrane bag.