Propagating cell-membrane waves driven by curved activators of actin polymerization

PLoS One. 2011 Apr 21;6(4):e18635. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018635.

Abstract

Cells exhibit propagating membrane waves which involve the actin cytoskeleton. One type of such membranal waves are Circular Dorsal Ruffles (CDR) which are related to endocytosis and receptor internalization. Experimentally, CDRs have been associated with membrane bound activators of actin polymerization of concave shape. We present experimental evidence for the localization of convex membrane proteins in these structures, and their insensitivity to inhibition of myosin II contractility in immortalized mouse embryo fibroblasts cell cultures. These observations lead us to propose a theoretical model which explains the formation of these waves due to the interplay between complexes that contain activators of actin polymerization and membrane-bound curved proteins of both types of curvature (concave and convex). Our model predicts that the activity of both types of curved proteins is essential for sustaining propagating waves, which are abolished when one type of curved activator is removed. Within this model waves are initiated when the level of actin polymerization induced by the curved activators is higher than some threshold value, which allows the cell to control CDR formation. We demonstrate that the model can explain many features of CDRs, and give several testable predictions. This work demonstrates the importance of curved membrane proteins in organizing the actin cytoskeleton and cell shape.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biopolymers / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence

Substances

  • Actins
  • Biopolymers
  • Membrane Proteins