A minimal self-organisation model of the Golgi apparatus

Elife. 2020 Aug 5:9:e47318. doi: 10.7554/eLife.47318.


The design principles dictating the spatio-temporal organisation of eukaryotic cells, and in particular the mechanisms controlling the self-organisation and dynamics of membrane-bound organelles such as the Golgi apparatus, remain elusive. Although this organelle was discovered 120 years ago, such basic questions as whether vesicular transport through the Golgi occurs in an anterograde (from entry to exit) or retrograde fashion are still strongly debated. Here, we address these issues by studying a quantitative model of organelle dynamics that includes: de-novo compartment generation, inter-compartment vesicular exchange, and biochemical conversion of membrane components. We show that anterograde or retrograde vesicular transports are asymptotic behaviors of a much richer dynamical system. Indeed, the structure and composition of cellular compartments and the directionality of vesicular exchange are intimately linked. They are emergent properties that can be tuned by varying the relative rates of vesicle budding, fusion and biochemical conversion.

Keywords: golgi apparatus; none; organelles; physics of living systems; self-organization; stochastic models.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Golgi Apparatus / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Transport Vesicles / physiology*