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Self-organization of a microtubule network at the cell cortex: experiments and models

Mathematical Biology

Speaker: Soichiro Yamada, Department of Biomedical Engineering, UCD
Location: 3106 MSB
Start time: Mon, May 14 2007, 4:10PM

Mechanisms underlying the organization of centrosomal microtubule arrays are well understood, but less is known about how acentrosomal microtubule networks are formed. The basal cortex of polarized epithelial cells contains a microtubule network. We examined how this network is organized by imaging microtubule dynamics in cytoplasts derived from these cells. We show that the steady-state microtubule network appears to form by a combination of microtubule-microtubule and microtubule-cortex interactions, both of which increase microtubule stability. We used computational modeling to determine whether these microtubule parameters are sufficient to generate a steady-state microtubule network. Microtubules undergoing dynamic instability without any stabilization points continuously remodel their organization without reaching a steady-state network. However, the addition of increased microtubule stabilization at microtubule-microtubule and microtubule-cortex interactions results in the rapid assembly of a steady-state microtubule network in silico that is remarkably similar to networks formed in situ. These results define minimal parameters for the self-organization of an acentrosomal microtubule network.