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PLoS Comput Biol. 2017 Jan 30;13(1):e1005354. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005354. eCollection 2017 Jan.

Exploring the inhibitory effect of membrane tension on cell polarization.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Nuclear Physics and Technology, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, People's Republic of China.
2
Center for Quantitative Biology, Peking University, Beijing, People's Republic of China.
3
Beijing International Center for Mathematical Research, Peking University, Beijing, People's Republic of China.

Abstract

Cell polarization toward an attractant is influenced by both physical and chemical factors. Most existing mathematical models are based on reaction-diffusion systems and only focus on the chemical process occurring during cell polarization. However, membrane tension has been shown to act as a long-range inhibitor of cell polarization. Here, we present a cell polarization model incorporating the interplay between Rac GTPase, filamentous actin (F-actin), and cell membrane tension. We further test the predictions of this model by performing single cell measurements of the spontaneous polarization of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and non-stem cancer cells (NSCCs), as the former have lower cell membrane tension. Based on both our model and the experimental results, cell polarization is more sensitive to stimuli under low membrane tension, and high membrane tension improves the robustness and stability of cell polarization such that polarization persists under random perturbations. Furthermore, our simulations are the first to recapitulate the experimental results described by Houk et al., revealing that aspiration (elevation of tension) and release (reduction of tension) result in a decrease in and recovery of the activity of Rac-GTP, respectively, and that the relaxation of tension induces new polarity of the cell body when a cell with the pseudopod-neck-body morphology is severed.

PMID:
28135277
PMCID:
PMC5305267
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005354
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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