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Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 2019 Nov;76(11-12):517-531. doi: 10.1002/cm.21582. Epub 2019 Dec 9.

Dynamic motions of molecular motors in the actin cytoskeleton.

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Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University, 206 S. Martin Jischke Drive, West Lafayette, Indiana.
Systems Biology Institute, Yale University, 850 West Campus Drive, West Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, 55 Prospect Street, New Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Physics, University of Northern Iowa, 215 Begeman Hall, Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Department of Physics, Yale University. 217 Prospect Street, New Haven, Connecticut.


During intracellular transport, cellular cargos, such as organelles, vesicles, and proteins, are transported within cells. Intracellular transport plays an important role in diverse cellular functions. Molecular motors walking on the cytoskeleton facilitate active intracellular transport, which is more efficient than diffusion-based passive transport. Active transport driven by kinesin and dynein walking on microtubules has been studied well during recent decades. However, mechanisms of active transport occurring in disorganized actin networks via myosin motors remain elusive. To provide physiologically relevant insights, we probed motions of myosin motors in actin networks under various conditions using our well-established computational model that rigorously accounts for the mechanical and dynamical behaviors of the actin cytoskeleton. We demonstrated that myosin motions can be confined due to three different reasons in the absence of F-actin turnover. We verified mechanisms of motor stalling using in vitro reconstituted actomyosin networks. We also found that with F-actin turnover, motors consistently move for a long time without significant confinement. Our study sheds light on the importance of F-actin turnover for effective active transport in the actin cytoskeleton.


actin cytoskeleton; actin turnover; intracellular transport; molecular motor; myosin


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