Polymerization, bending, tension: What happens at the leading edge of motile cells?


  • M. Falcke
  • J. Zimmermann


  • European Physical Journal - Special Topics


  • Eur Phys J Spec Top 223 (7): 1353-1372


  • The forces experienced by filaments in actin based propulsion in reconstituted systems and cell motility, the mechanical properties of the lamellipodium of motile cells due to filament branching and cross-linking, the free filament contour length between branch points, the mechanisms of the force-velocity relation and velocity oscillations are all topics of ongoing debate. Here, we review results with a modelling concept considering the F-actin network as weakly cross-linked in a region with dynamic depth close to the propelled obstacle and gel-like further back. It offers quantitative explanations for steady motion and oscillation mechanisms in reconstituted systems and motile cells, and the force-velocity relation of fish keratocytes.