36,021 research outputs found

    Motor proteins traffic regulation by supply-demand balance of resources

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    In cells and in vitro assays the number of motor proteins involved in biological transport processes is far from being unlimited. The cytoskeletal binding sites are in contact with the same finite reservoir of motors (either the cytosol or the flow chamber) and hence compete for recruiting the available motors, potentially depleting the reservoir and affecting cytoskeletal transport. In this work we provide a theoretical framework to study, analytically and numerically, how motor density profiles and crowding along cytoskeletal filaments depend on the competition of motors for their binding sites. We propose two models in which finite processive motor proteins actively advance along cytoskeletal filaments and are continuously exchanged with the motor pool. We first look at homogeneous reservoirs and then examine the effects of free motor diffusion in the surrounding medium. We consider as a reference situation recent in vitro experimental setups of kinesin-8 motors binding and moving along microtubule filaments in a flow chamber. We investigate how the crowding of linear motor proteins moving on a filament can be regulated by the balance between supply (concentration of motor proteins in the flow chamber) and demand (total number of polymerised tubulin heterodimers). We present analytical results for the density profiles of bound motors, the reservoir depletion, and propose novel phase diagrams that present the formation of jams of motor proteins on the filament as a function of two tuneable experimental parameters: the motor protein concentration and the concentration of tubulins polymerized into cytoskeletal filaments. Extensive numerical simulations corroborate the analytical results for parameters in the experimental range and also address the effects of diffusion of motor proteins in the reservoir.Comment: 31 pages, 10 figure

    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

    Vimentin filaments are assembled from a soluble precursor in avian erythroid cells

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    The synthesis and assembly of vimentin was studied in erythroid cells from 10-d-old chicken embryos. After various periods of [35S]methionine incorporation, cells were lysed in a Triton X-100-containing buffer and separated into a soluble and an insoluble (cytoskeletal) fraction. Analysis of these two fractions by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis shows that vimentin is almost exclusively present in the cytoskeletal fraction and that newly synthesized vimentin is rapidly incorporated into this fraction. However, after a short pulse-labeling period, a prominent labeled protein at the position of vimentin is present in the soluble fraction. By immunoautoradiography and immunoprecipitations with vimentin antibodies, this protein was identified as vimentin. The vimentin in the soluble fraction is not sedimented by high speed centrifugation, suggesting that it does not consist of short filaments. After different pulse-labeling periods, assembly of newly synthesized vimentin in the cytoskeletal fraction increases linearly, while the radioactivity in the soluble vimentin remains constant. During a 2-h pulse-chase period, the vimentin in the soluble fraction is chased into the cytoskeletal fraction, with a half-life of 7 min. These results suggest that in chicken embryo erythroid cells newly synthesized vimentin is rapidly assembled into filaments from a soluble precursor

    Effect of age and cytoskeletal elements on the indentation-dependent mechanical properties of chondrocytes.

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    Articular cartilage chondrocytes are responsible for the synthesis, maintenance, and turnover of the extracellular matrix, metabolic processes that contribute to the mechanical properties of these cells. Here, we systematically evaluated the effect of age and cytoskeletal disruptors on the mechanical properties of chondrocytes as a function of deformation. We quantified the indentation-dependent mechanical properties of chondrocytes isolated from neonatal (1-day), adult (5-year) and geriatric (12-year) bovine knees using atomic force microscopy (AFM). We also measured the contribution of the actin and intermediate filaments to the indentation-dependent mechanical properties of chondrocytes. By integrating AFM with confocal fluorescent microscopy, we monitored cytoskeletal and biomechanical deformation in transgenic cells (GFP-vimentin and mCherry-actin) under compression. We found that the elastic modulus of chondrocytes in all age groups decreased with increased indentation (15-2000 nm). The elastic modulus of adult chondrocytes was significantly greater than neonatal cells at indentations greater than 500 nm. Viscoelastic moduli (instantaneous and equilibrium) were comparable in all age groups examined; however, the intrinsic viscosity was lower in geriatric chondrocytes than neonatal. Disrupting the actin or the intermediate filament structures altered the mechanical properties of chondrocytes by decreasing the elastic modulus and viscoelastic properties, resulting in a dramatic loss of indentation-dependent response with treatment. Actin and vimentin cytoskeletal structures were monitored using confocal fluorescent microscopy in transgenic cells treated with disruptors, and both treatments had a profound disruptive effect on the actin filaments. Here we show that disrupting the structure of intermediate filaments indirectly altered the configuration of the actin cytoskeleton. These findings underscore the importance of the cytoskeletal elements in the overall mechanical response of chondrocytes, indicating that intermediate filament integrity is key to the non-linear elastic properties of chondrocytes. This study improves our understanding of the mechanical properties of articular cartilage at the single cell level

    Canavanine Inhibits Vimentin Assembly But Not Its Synthesis in Chicken Embryo Erythroid Cells

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    In chicken embryo erythroid cells, newly synthesized vimentin first enters a Triton X-100 (TX-100)-soluble pool and subsequently assembles posttranslationally into TX-100-insoluble vimentin filaments (Blikstad I., and E. Lazarides, J. Cell Biol., 96:1803-1808). Here we show that incubation of chicken embryo erythroid cells in a medium in which arginine has been substituted by its amino acid analogue, canavanine, results in the inhibition of the posttranslational assembly of vimentin into the TX-100-insoluble filaments. Immunoprecipitation and subsequent SDS gel electrophoresis showed that the synthesis of canavanine-vimentin is not inhibited and that it accumulates in the TX-100-soluble compartment. Pulse-chase experiments with [35S]methionine demonstrated that while arginine-vimentin can be rapidly chased from the soluble to the cytoskeletal fraction, canavanine-vimentin remains in the soluble fraction, where it turns over. The effect of canavanine on the assembly of vimentin did not prevent the assembly of arginine-vimentin, as cells labeled with [35S]methionine first in the presence of canavanine and then in the presence of arginine contained labeled canavanine-vimentin only in the soluble fraction, and arginine-vimentin in both the soluble and cytoskeletal fractions. These results suggest that arginine residues play an essential role in the assembly of vimentin in vivo

    Magnetosomes Are Cell Membrane Invaginations Organized by the Actin-Like Protein MamK

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    Magnetosomes are membranous bacterial organelles sharing many features of eukaryotic organelles. Using electron cryotomography, we found that magnetosomes are invaginations of the cell membrane flanked by a network of cytoskeletal filaments. The filaments appeared to be composed of MamK, a homolog of the bacterial actin-like protein MreB, which formed filaments in vivo. In a mamK deletion strain, the magnetosome-associated cytoskeleton was absent and individual magnetosomes were no longer organized into chains. Thus, it seems that prokaryotes can use cytoskeletal filaments to position organelles within the cell

    Spatial Organization of the Cytoskeleton enhances Cargo Delivery to Specific Target Areas on the Plasma Membrane of Spherical Cells

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    Intracellular transport is vital for the proper functioning and survival of a cell. Cargo (proteins, vesicles, organelles, etc.) is transferred from its place of creation to its target locations via molecular motor assisted transport along cytoskeletal filaments. The transport efficiency is strongly affected by the spatial organization of the cytoskeleton, which constitutes an inhomogeneous, complex network. In cells with a centrosome microtubules grow radially from the central microtubule organizing center towards the cell periphery whereas actin filaments form a dense meshwork, the actin cortex, underneath the cell membrane with a broad range of orientations. The emerging ballistic motion along filaments is frequently interrupted due to constricting intersection nodes or cycles of detachment and reattachment processes in the crowded cytoplasm. In order to investigate the efficiency of search strategies established by the cell's specific spatial organization of the cytoskeleton we formulate a random velocity model with intermittent arrest states. With extensive computer simulations we analyze the dependence of the mean first passage times for narrow escape problems on the structural characteristics of the cytoskeleton, the motor properties and the fraction of time spent in each state. We find that an inhomogeneous architecture with a small width of the actin cortex constitutes an efficient intracellular search strategy.Comment: 14 pages, 9 figure

    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
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