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Hydrodynamics of active polar filaments as a model of the cell cortex

Mathematical Biology

Speaker: Kripa Gowrishankar, UC Davis
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Mon, Nov 14 2011, 2:10PM

Coarse grained hydrodynamic theories are being increasingly used to model biological systems like collections of cytoskeletal molecules, cells and animals. The active nature of the components gives rise to unique non equilibrium patterning , dynamics and fluctuations. We apply such a theory to the specific context of the actin cortex of eukaryotic cells, comprised of polar actin filaments and myosin motors. We find that in the presence of noise, inward pointing asters of actin display a remodelling dynamics while the filament concentration has anamalous fluctuations. The validity of the theory is tested in the lab by probing the behaviour of a membrane marker (GPI anchored protein) that couples to the actin cortex.