Much of current understanding of cell motility arose from studying steady treadmilling of actin arrays. Recently, there have been a growing number of observations of a more complex, non-steady, actin behavior, including self-organized waves. It is becoming clear that these waves result from activation and inhibition feedbacks in actin dynamics acting on different scales, but the exact molecular nature of these feedbacks and the respective roles of biomechanics and biochemistry are still unclear. Here, we review recent advances achieved in experimental and theoretical studies of actin waves and discuss mechanisms and physiological significance of wavy protrusions.
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