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Biophys J. 2011 Mar 16;100(6):1400-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2011.01.038.

Spreading dynamics of biomimetic actin cortices.

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  • 1Institut Curie, Centre de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR168, Université Paris 6, Paris, France.


Reconstituted systems mimicking cells are interesting tools for understanding the details of cell behavior. Here, we use an experimental system that mimics cellular actin cortices, namely liposomes developing an actin shell close to their inner membrane, and we study their dynamics of spreading. We show that depending on the morphology of the actin shell inside the liposome, spreading dynamics is either reminiscent of a bare liposome (in the case of a sparse actin shell) or of a cell (in the case of a continuous actin shell). We use a mechanical model that qualitatively accounts for the shape of the experimental curves. From the data on spreading dynamics, we extract characteristic times that are consistent with mechanical estimates. The mechanical characterization of such stripped-down experimental systems paves the way for a more complex design closer to a cell. We report here the first step in building an artificial cell and studying its mechanics.

Copyright © 2011 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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