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Modelling the effect of myosin X motors on filopodia growth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2014


We present a numerical simulation study of the dynamics of filopodial growth in the presence of active transport by myosin X motors. We employ both a microscopic agent-based model, which captures the stochasticity of the growth process, and a continuum mean-field theory which neglects fluctuations. We show that in the absence of motors, filopodia growth is overestimated by the continuum mean-field theory. Thus fluctuations slow down the growth, especially when the protrusions are driven by a small number (10 or less) of F-actin fibres, and when the force opposing growth (coming from membrane elasticity) is large enough. We also show that, with typical parameter values for eukaryotic cells, motors are unlikely to provide an actin transport mechanism which enhances filopodial size significantly, unless the G-actin concentration within the filopodium greatly exceeds that of the cytosol bulk. We explain these observations in terms of order-of-magnitude estimates of diffusion-induced and advection-induced growth of a bundle of Brownian ratchets.

    Research areas

  • filopodia growth, myosin X motors, agent-based simulations, Brownian ratchet

ID: 16192939