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Centering and symmetry breaking in confined contracting actomyosin networks

Ierushalmi, N; Malik-Garbi, M; Manhart, A; Abu Shah, E; Goode, BL; Mogilner, A; Keren, K; (2020) Centering and symmetry breaking in confined contracting actomyosin networks. eLife , 9 10.7554/eLife.55368. Green open access

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Abstract

Centering and decentering of cellular components is essential for internal organization of cells and their ability to perform basic cellular functions such as division and motility. How cells achieve proper localization of their organelles is still not well-understood, especially in large cells such as oocytes. Here, we study actin-based positioning mechanisms in artificial cells with persistently contracting actomyosin networks, generated by encapsulating cytoplasmic Xenopus egg extracts into cell-sized 'water-in-oil' droplets. We observe size-dependent localization of the contraction center, with a symmetric configuration in larger cells and a polar one in smaller cells. Centering is achieved via a hydrodynamic mechanism based on Darcy friction between the contracting network and the surrounding cytoplasm. During symmetry breaking, transient attachments to the cell boundary drive the contraction center to a polar location. The centering mechanism is cell-cycle dependent and weakens considerably during interphase. Our findings demonstrate a robust, yet tunable, mechanism for subcellular localization.

Type: Article
Title: Centering and symmetry breaking in confined contracting actomyosin networks
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.55368
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.55368
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright Ierushalmi et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: actomyosin contraction, artificial cell, cell biology, centering, physics of living systems, subcellular localization, symmetry breaking, xenopus
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10096398
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