Nonequilibrium self-assembly of cytoskeletal networks

The mechanics of living cells is largely dictated by networks of several types of protein filaments collectively known as the cytoskeleton. The properties of the cytoskeleton are determined by its microstructure, ranging from isotropic gels of single filaments to networks of thick bundles each comprising many filaments. While these morphologies are widely observed, we understand very little about how they are determined, although recent results indicate they are generated out of equilibrium. By combining theory with experiments on two very different types of cytoskeletal filaments, namely actin and the much less studied vimentin, we will propose a new paradigm for cytoskeletal filament self-organization based on kinetically trapped nonequilibrium states. The resulting predictive framework will uncover new physical principles for nonequilibrium self-assembly, shed light on the physiological parameters controlling cell mechanics, and suggest new design principles for fiber-based materials. This will initiate a new, long-term collaboration between groups from three CNRS institutes 

Biophysics, nonequilibrium self-assembly, cytoskeleton, actin, vimentin

Partenaires du projet

LENZ Martin
Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (UMR8626) Orsay France
du Roure Olivia
Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes (UMR7636) France
Leduc Cécile
Dynamique cellulaire physiologique et pathologique (UMR3691) France
Valerio Sorichetti.
Crédit photo : Valerio Sorichetti.