Living systems rely, for biological function, on the spatiotemporal organization of their structures. Cellular order naturally emerges by dissipation of energy. Consequently, energy-consuming processes operating far from thermodynamic equilibrium are a necessary condition to enable biological systems to respond to environmental cues that allow their transitions between different steady-states. Such self-organization was predicted for the actin cytoskeleton in theoretical considerations and has repeatedly been observed in cell-free systems. We now demonstrate in our recent work how self-organizing actin patterns such as vortices, stars, and asters may allow cells to adjust their membrane architecture without affecting their cell mechanical properties.
Keywords: actin; cortex; membrane; self-assembly; self-organization.