Pattern formation in polymerizing actin flocks

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

Pattern formation in polymerizing actin flocks

  • Event time: 1:00pm until 2:00pm
  • Event date: 27th February 2017
  • Speaker: Thomas Le Goff (Formerly School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 4325A,

Event details


F-Actin is a polymer existing in the cytoskeleton of cells and which is involved in cell motility, cell division or cell signaling. These polymers form a network which can exhibit very interesting dynamics. Particularly, actin waves usually following formation of spots were observed experimentally [1].

We propose a simple physical model based on a minimum number of ingredients to describe the appearance of these waves :(i) treadmilling - i.e. the simultaneous growth and shrinkage at the two ends of the actin fiber, (ii) polymerisation and (iii) a nematic interaction term causing fiber alignment for large concentration of F-actin. With this simple model we obtain very rich dynamics, in particular we can observe formation of spots, spirals and waves resembling the dynamics seen experimentally. Our model also allows us to make definite predictions on the mechanism underlying wave formation in vivo.

[1] T. Bretschneider, K. Anderson, M. Ecke, A. Müller-Taubenberger, B. Schroth-Diez, H. C. Ishikawa-Ankerhold, G. Gerisch, Biophys. J. 96, 2888 (2009).

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

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