28,371 research outputs found

    Continuous growth of vimentin filaments in mouse fibroblasts

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    We have investigated the dynamics of intermediate filament assembly in vivo by following the fate of heterologous chicken vimentin subunits expressed under the control of an inducible promoter in transfected mouse fibroblasts. Using RNase protection, metabolic protein pulse-chase and immunofluorescence microscopy, we have examined the fate of newly assembled subunits under physiological conditions in situ. Following induction and subsequent removal of inducer, chicken vimentin mRNA had a half-life of approximately 6 h while both chicken and mouse vimentin protein polymer had long half-lives--roughly equivalent to the cell generation time. Moreover, following deinduction, chicken vimentin immunolocalization progressed from a continuous (8-10 h chase) to a discontinuous (> or = 20 h chase) pattern. The continuous chicken vimentin staining reflects the uniform incorporation of chicken vimentin throughout the endogenous mouse vimentin network while the discontinuous or punctate chicken vimentin staining represents short interspersed segments of assembled chicken vimentin superimposed on the endogenous polymer. This punctate staining pattern of chicken vimentin was present throughout the entire array of intermediate filaments, with no bias toward the perinuclear region. These results are consistent with a continuous growth model of intermediate filament assembly, wherein subunit addition occurs at discrete sites located throughout the cytoskeleton

    Collective force generated by multiple biofilaments can exceed the sum of forces due to individual ones

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    Collective dynamics and force generation by cytoskeletal filaments are crucial in many cellular processes. Investigating growth dynamics of a bundle of N independent cytoskeletal filaments pushing against a wall, we show that chemical switching (ATP/GTP hydrolysis) leads to a collective phenomenon that is currently unknown. Obtaining force-velocity relations for different models that capture chemical switching, we show, analytically and numerically, that the collective stall force of N filaments is greater than N times the stall force of a single filament. Employing an exactly solvable toy model, we analytically prove the above result for N=2. We, further, numerically show the existence of this collective phenomenon, for N>=2, in realistic models (with random and sequential hydrolysis) that simulate actin and microtubule bundle growth. We make quantitative predictions for the excess forces, and argue that this collective effect is related to the non-equilibrium nature of chemical switching.Comment: New J. Phys., 201

    A cycling state that can lead to glassy dynamics in intracellular transport

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    Power-law dwell times have been observed for molecular motors in living cells, but the origins of these trapped states are not known. We introduce a minimal model of motors moving on a two-dimensional network of filaments, and simulations of its dynamics exhibit statistics comparable to those observed experimentally. Analysis of the model trajectories, as well as experimental particle tracking data, reveals a state in which motors cycle unproductively at junctions of three or more filaments. We formulate a master equation for these junction dynamics and show that the time required to escape from this vortex-like state can account for the power-law dwell times. We identify trends in the dynamics with the motor valency for further experimental validation. We demonstrate that these trends exist in individual trajectories of myosin II on an actin network. We discuss how cells could regulate intracellular transport and, in turn, biological function, by controlling their cytoskeletal network structures locally

    Intrinsic structural disorder in cytoskeletal proteins.

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    Cytoskeleton, the internal scaffold of the cell, displays an exceptional combination of stability and dynamics. It is composed of three major filamentous networks, microfilaments (actin filaments), intermediate filaments (neurofilaments), and microtubules. Together, they ensure the physical and structural stability of the cell, whereby also mediating its large-scale structural rearrangements, motility, stress response, division, and internal transport. All three cytoskeletal systems are built upon the same basic design: they have a central repetitive scaffold assembled from folded building elements, surrounded and regulated by accessory regions/proteins that regulate its formation and mediate its countless interactions with its environment, serving to send regulatory signals to and from the cytoskeleton. Here, we elaborate on the idea that the opposing features of stability and dynamics are also manifest in the dichotomy of the structural status of its components, the core being highly structured and the accessory proteins/regions being highly disordered, and are responsible for most of the regulatory (post-translational) input promoting adaptive responses and providing dynamics necessary for each of the cytoskeletal systems. This pattern entails special consequences, in which the manifold functional advantages of structural disorder, most pronounced in regulatory and signaling functions, are all exploited by nature. (c) 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc

    Sensor potency of the moonlighting enzyme-decorated cytoskeleton

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    Background: There is extensive evidence for the interaction of metabolic enzymes with the eukaryotic cytoskeleton. The significance of these interactions is far from clear. Presentation of the hypothesis: In the cytoskeletal integrative sensor hypothesis presented here, the cytoskeleton senses and integrates the general metabolic activity of the cell. This activity depends on the binding to the cytoskeleton of enzymes and, depending on the nature of the enzyme, this binding may occur if the enzyme is either active or inactive but not both. This enzyme-binding is further proposed to stabilize microtubules and microfilaments and to alter rates of GTP and ATP hydrolysis and their levels. Testing the hypothesis: Evidence consistent with the cytoskeletal integrative sensor hypothesis is presented in the case of glycolysis. Several testable predictions are made. There should be a relationship between post-translational modifications of tubulin and of actin and their interaction with metabolic enzymes. Different conditions of cytoskeletal dynamics and enzyme-cytoskeleton binding should reveal significant differences in local and perhaps global levels and ratios of ATP and GTP. The different functions of moonlighting enzymes should depend on cytoskeletal binding. Implications of the hypothesis: The physical and chemical effects arising from metabolic sensing by the cytoskeleton would have major consequences on cell shape, dynamics and cell cycle progression. The hypothesis provides a framework that helps the significance of the enzyme-decorated cytoskeleton be determined

    Compare and contrast the reaction coordinate diagrams for chemical reactions and cytoskeletal force generators.

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    Reaction coordinate diagrams are used to relate the free energy changes that occur during the progress of chemical processes to the rate and equilibrium constants of the process. Here I briefly review the application of these diagrams to the thermodynamics and kinetics of the generation of force and motion by cytoskeletal motors and polymer ratchets as they mediate intracellular transport, organelle dynamics, cell locomotion, and cell division. To provide a familiar biochemical context for discussing these subcellular force generators, I first review the application of reaction coordinate diagrams to the mechanisms of simple chemical and enzyme-catalyzed reactions. My description of reaction coordinate diagrams of motors and polymer ratchets is simplified relative to the rigorous biophysical treatment found in many of the references that I use and cite, but I hope that the essay provides a valuable qualitative representation of the physical chemical parameters that underlie the generation of force and motility at molecular scales. In any case, I have found that this approach represents a useful interdisciplinary framework for understanding, researching, and teaching the basic molecular mechanisms by which motors contribute to fundamental cell biological processes

    Cytoskeleton and Cell Motility

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    The present article is an invited contribution to the Encyclopedia of Complexity and System Science, Robert A. Meyers Ed., Springer New York (2009). It is a review of the biophysical mechanisms that underly cell motility. It mainly focuses on the eukaryotic cytoskeleton and cell-motility mechanisms. Bacterial motility as well as the composition of the prokaryotic cytoskeleton is only briefly mentioned. The article is organized as follows. In Section III, I first present an overview of the diversity of cellular motility mechanisms, which might at first glance be categorized into two different types of behaviors, namely "swimming" and "crawling". Intracellular transport, mitosis - or cell division - as well as other extensions of cell motility that rely on the same essential machinery are briefly sketched. In Section IV, I introduce the molecular machinery that underlies cell motility - the cytoskeleton - as well as its interactions with the external environment of the cell and its main regulatory pathways. Sections IV D to IV F are more detailed in their biochemical presentations; readers primarily interested in the theoretical modeling of cell motility might want to skip these sections in a first reading. I then describe the motility mechanisms that rely essentially on polymerization-depolymerization dynamics of cytoskeleton filaments in Section V, and the ones that rely essentially on the activity of motor proteins in Section VI. Finally, Section VII is devoted to the description of the integrated approaches that have been developed recently to try to understand the cooperative phenomena that underly self-organization of the cell cytoskeleton as a whole.Comment: 31 pages, 16 figures, 295 reference
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