Protrusion of a Virtual Model Lamellipodium by Actin Polymerization: A Coarse-grained Langevin Dynamics Model.

Jeon J, Alexander NR, Weaver AM, Cummings PT
J Stat Phys. 2008 133 (1): 79-100

PMID: 20351797 · PMCID: PMC2846375 · DOI:10.1007/s10955-008-9600-5

We report the development of a coarse-grained Langevin dynamics model of a lamellipodium featuring growing F-actin filaments in order to study the effect of stiffness of the F-actin filament, the G-actin monomer concentration, and the number of polymerization sites on lamellipodium protrusion. The virtual lamellipodium is modeled as a low-aspect-ratio doubly capped cylinder formed by triangulated particles on its surface. It is assumed that F-actin filaments are firmly attached to a lamellipodium surface where polymerization sites are located, and actin polymerization takes place by connecting a G-actin particle to a polymerization site and to the first particle of a growing F-actin filament. It is found that there is an optimal number of polymerization sites for rapid lamellipodium protrusion. The maximum speed of lamellipodium protrusion is related to competition between the number of polymerization sites and the number of available G-actin particles, and the degree of pulling and holding of the lamellipodium surface by non-polymerizing actin filaments. The lamellipodium protrusion by actin polymerization displays saltatory motion exhibiting pseudo-thermal equilibrium: the lamellipodium speed distribution is Maxwellian in two dimensions but the lamellipodium motion is biased so that the lamellipodium speed in the direction of the lamellipodium motion is much larger than that normal to the lamellipodium motion.

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