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Pattern formation by molecular motors in cellular protrusions

Presented by: 
Arik Yochelis
Friday 11th December 2015 - 13:30 to 14:15
INI Seminar Room 1
Co-authors: S. Ebrahim (NIH, US), B. Millis (NIH, US), R. Cui (NIH, US), B. Kachar (NIH, US), M. Naoz (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel), N. S. Gov (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)

Actin-based cellular protrusions are an ubiquitous feature of cells, performing a variety of critical functions ranging from cell-cell communication to cell motility. The formation and maintenance of these protrusions relies on the transport of proteins via myosin motors, to the protrusion tip. While tip-directed motion leads to accumulation of motors (and their molecular cargo) at the protrusion tip, it is observed that motors also form rearward moving, periodic and isolated aggregates. Not only that these aggregates are apparently important to the recycling of the motors but also their origins and mechanisms are open puzzles. Motivated by novel experiments, a mass conserving nonlinear reaction-diffusion-advection model is proposed. Analysis of the model provides insights into pattern selection mechanisms, i.e., how local and global bifurcations, and boundary conditions lead to emergence of pulses and traveling waves. These pattern selection mechanisms are found not only to qualitatively agree with empirical observations but open new vistas to the transport phenomena by molecular motors in general.

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    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons