IPLS Seminar - Prof. Michael Murrell (Yale University)
30 June 2017, 11:30 am
UCL (MRC Building, LMCB, 2nd Floor Seminar Room)
Title: Contractility and Stability in a Biomimetic Cell Cytoskeleton
Abstract: While the molecular interactions between myosin motors and F-actin are well known, the relationship between F-actin organization and myosin-mediated force generation remains poorly understood. Here, we explore the accumulation of myosin-induced stresses within a 2D biomimetic model of the actomyosin cortex, where myosin activity is controlled spatially and temporally using light. By controlling the geometry and the duration of myosin activation, we show that the transition from stability to contractility in disordered actomyosin is highly cooperative, telescopic with the activation area and generates a pattern of mechanical stresses consistent with those observed in contractile cells. We quantitatively reproduce these properties using an in vitro isotropic model of the actomyosin cytoskeleton, and explore the physical origins of telescopic contractility and stability in disordered networks using agent-based simulations.