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Commun Integr Biol. 2017 Apr 27;10(3):e1303591. doi: 10.1080/19420889.2017.1303591. eCollection 2017.

Self-organizing actin patterns shape cytoskeletal cortex organization.

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MRC Human Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Living systems rely, for biological function, on the spatiotemporal organization of their structures. Cellular order naturally emerges by dissipation of energy. Consequently, energy-consuming processes operating far from thermodynamic equilibrium are a necessary condition to enable biological systems to respond to environmental cues that allow their transitions between different steady-states. Such self-organization was predicted for the actin cytoskeleton in theoretical considerations and has repeatedly been observed in cell-free systems. We now demonstrate in our recent work how self-organizing actin patterns such as vortices, stars, and asters may allow cells to adjust their membrane architecture without affecting their cell mechanical properties.


actin; cortex; membrane; self-assembly; self-organization

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