Statistical and Biological Physics

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Cellular protrusions as filopodia or stereocilia are finger-like extensions of a cell projecting into the surrounding environment. Their shape is maintained by actin filaments that are cross-linked into more rigid bundles. Protrusions have an important role in different contexts ranging from cell migration and wound healing to signal transduction. For the functioning of the protrusions proteins have to be transported to the protrusion tips. Molecular motors as myosins can fulfill this task by converting chemical energy from ATP hydrolysis into directed movement along those actin filaments, pulling the proteins as cargo behind them. more

In eukaryotic cells, a network of highly dynamic filamentous biopolymers, called microtubules, is involved in many vital processes such as intracellular organization and cell division. To ensure a proper functioning of these processes, a precise regulation of the microtubule network is inevitable. It relies on an intricate but largely unsolved interplay of a plethora of microtubule-associated proteins. In our study, we employ a mathematical model to elucidate mechanisms exploited by two central microtubule-regulating proteins to ensure efficient regulation. more