Stochastic simulation of actin dynamics reveals the role of annealing and fragmentation

J Theor Biol. 2008 May 7;252(1):173-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2008.01.001. Epub 2008 Jan 11.


Recent observations of F-actin dynamics call for theoretical models to interpret and understand the quantitative data. A number of existing models rely on simplifications and do not take into account F-actin fragmentation and annealing. We use Gillespie's algorithm for stochastic simulations of the F-actin dynamics including fragmentation and annealing. The simulations vividly illustrate that fragmentation and annealing have little influence on the shape of the polymerization curve and on nucleotide profiles within filaments but drastically affect the F-actin length distribution, making it exponential. We find that recent surprising measurements of high length diffusivity at the critical concentration cannot be explained by fragmentation and annealing events unless both fragmentation rates and frequency of undetected fragmentation and annealing events are greater than previously thought. The simulations compare well with experimentally measured actin polymerization data and lend additional support to a number of existing theoretical models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Models, Biological*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Stochastic Processes


  • Actins
  • Macromolecular Substances